Narilam malware destroys businesses' SQL databases

News 26 Nov, 2012

Latest discovery by Symantec could wreak havoc on business critical systems

Security and anti-malware company Symantec has identified a new worm that is attacking business IT systems and destroying their databases.

The threat, dubbed W32.Narilam, is predominantly active in the Middle East, according to the company’s field tests. However, it has also been detected in the USA and UK.

Narilam is not the first malware to target businesses. Stuxnet, which was first discovered in 2010, targeted Siemens industrial software and equipment, while Flame, which was discovered in May 2012, is a spyware programme. Like Narilam, Stuxnet and Flame were originally centred in the Middle East, specifically Iran, and spread from there.

However, Narilam differs from other malware in that it only targets SQL databases, damaging the information they contain.

“Given the types of objects that the threat searches for, the targeted databases seem to be related to ordering, accounting, or customer management systems belonging to corporations,” Symantec said in a blog post.

“Our in-field telemetry indicates that the vast majority of users impacted by this threat are corporate users. This fact is consistent with the functionality contained within the threat. The types of databases that this threat is looking for is unlikely to be found in the systems of home users,” the organisation added.

As the worm damages the databases by entering random values into the SQL code, Symantec is warning that unless appropriate backups are in place, those affected will be very difficult to restore and the disruption caused could even cause companies to suffer financial losses.

“Symantec users with the latest definitions are protected from W32.Narilam; however, we strongly recommend that important databases be backed up regularly,” the company concluded.