SAN FRANCISCO — Hackers at the annual Defcon conference in Las Vegas are set to release a new program to the Internet that can let intruders automatically take over Microsoft-powered computers, industry experts and hackers warned Friday.
The program, written by the "Cult of The Dead Cow," is not dangerous by itself. But after it is posted on the Internet, hackers can use the program to infiltrate other computer systems when they combine it with other programs in a so-called Trojan horse attack.
At the annual Defcon conference, being held this weekend, hackers, industry executives and even government officials get together to examine computer security issues.
"It's a malicious piece of software ," said Microsoft Corp. anti-virus expert Jason Garms. "It's built to be stealthy."
The program could be used to steal data and monitor a user from another location. Computer experts said it could take weeks or months to infect other computers. But they did not expect major outbreaks as serious as the Melissa or Chernobyl infections.
"It's a little hard to classify how much of a threat it is--it's really not much of a threat at all, more an attempt to get publicity," said Dan Schrader of Trend Micro, an anti-virus software company.