A new malware has been uncovered which was developed in Russia that flirts with females or males seeking relationships online in order to collect their personal data.
The software, CyberLover, can conduct fully automated flirtatious conversations with users of chat-rooms and dating sites to lure them into a set of dangerous actions such as sharing their identity or visiting Web sites with malicious content.
According to its creators, CyberLover can establish a new relationship with up to ten partners in just 30 minutes and its victims cannot distinguish it from a human being.
PC Tools is concerned about the program's ability to mimic human behavior during online interactions and urges Internet users to beware of this new breed of software that can easily be used for malicious purposes. The concept behind this software could be the catalyst for a dangerous new trend in malware evolution.
"As a tool that can be used by hackers to conduct identity fraud, CyberLover demonstrates an unprecedented level of social engineering," says Sergei Shevchenko, Senior Malware Analyst at PC Tools. "It employs highly intelligent and customized dialogue to target users of social networking systems."
"Internet users today are generally aware of the dangers of suspicious attachments and URLs they receive, the documents they open or the Web sites they visit, but CyberLover employs a new technique that is unheard of -- and that's what makes it particularly dangerous."
"CyberLover has been designed as a bot that lures victims automatically, without human intervention. If it's spawned in multiple instances on multiple servers, the number of potential victims could be very substantial," says Shevchenko.
According to researchers, the CyberLover software:
Though Cyberlover is currently targeting Russian Web sites, social networkers and online daters in the U.S. are urged to stay alert to unusual activity credited to programs like CyberLover.
To protect themselves Internet users should: