News Column

PCs at gov't, firms at risk of infection from media-player sofatware

January 23, 2014

TOKYO, Jan. 24 -- (Kyodo) _ Personal computers at government agencies and companies are at risk of infection with a virus that allows hackers remote access when a South Korean firm's media-player application is updated.

At risk are users of GOM Player, produced by Seoul-based Internet company Gretech Corp., according to Tokyo-based information security firm LAC Co.

The virus is designed to attack only PCs connected to specific IP addresses such as government agencies and certain businesses, industry experts said Friday. The extent of PCs running GOM Player at such addresses is not immediately known, however, as Gretech has not disclosed the number of its application users.

The infection of a PC at the Monju experimental nuclear reactor complex earlier this month is believed to have stemmed from the application, although the operator Japan Atomic Energy Agency did not name the software.

"Reports so far of our investigations...have confirmed that no important information has leaked," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference, acknowledging specialist investigations are still ongoing.

The Japanese government's National Information Security Center warned all ministries and government agencies Thursday not to update the application.

The virus gets transmitted to PCs from a server that they are linked to after users try to update GOM Player in line with an advisory that appears when they run the application.

"Ordinary users are unlikely to recognize the gimmick as it happens when updating a legitimate application," a LAC spokesperson said.

Gretech's Tokyo branch froze the updating of the application after the report.

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Source: Japan Economic Newswire

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