Security companies have reported what may be the first virus to target InfoPath, Microsoft Corp.’s product for sharing information in forms using the XML (Extensible Markup Language) format.

F-Secure Corp. said the Trojan horse virus appears to do little harm but is of interest because it is the first to target InfoPath. It is a proof of concept virus, meaning it was created to demonstrate that a vulnerability exists or to show off someone’s coding skills.

The virus presents itself as an executable file. When it runs, it looks for the .xsn file-type used by InfoPath and extracts the file’s contents using ActiveX into a temporary directory. The virus has been dubbed Icabdi.A.

It then tries to insert its own script into the .xsn file and places it back in the same location, according to F-Secure. When the file is accessed, the malicious code generates one of several messages in a pop-up window.

The messages include random quotes such as “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. (by Albert Einstein)”

One of the messages notes the virus writer’s Web page and says the virus is a proof-of-concept.

Symantec Corp. said the virus has not been widely distributed and rated the threat as “low.” McAfee Inc. also detected it.

It affects Windows 2000, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT, Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP, according to Symantec.

Microsoft officials were unable to immediately comment.

The F-Secure posting is at this Web site.

Symantec’s posting is at this Web site.



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