Security outfit iDefense is reporting that the next Sober worm attack will take place on 5 January - the 87th anniversary of the founding of the Nazi party.
The information has been gleaned from breaking encrypted code in the latest version of Sober which dominated the November anti-virus ratings. According to iDefense, "the November 22 variant is designed to download an unknown payload of code on January 5, 2006".
As we reported last month, Sober accounted for "one in every 13 emails sent and 42.9 per cent of all viruses reported to Sophos" in the November threat chart. The last variant was delivered as an email attachment to messages - either in German or English - allegedly emanating from police agencies warning users they are under investigation for visiting illegal websites.
Once the attached file is run, the worm "scans the user's hard drive for email addresses, in its search for fresh targets for infestation". It also tries to disable security software on infected Windows PCs.
Regarding the apparently political timing of the next expected assault, Joe Payne, vice president, VeriSign iDefense Security Intelligence Services, said: "This discovery emphasizes the ever-present and often underestimated threat of 'hacktivism' - combining malicious code with political causes. Exposing this latest variant required technical and geopolitical analysis that connected the dots to give enterprises and home users plenty of time to shore up their defenses."