Anti-virus specialist Sophos has identified a virus being distributed in software written using the Delphi programming language from Borland.
Delphi, now know as CodeGear Delphi, is a variant of the Pascal language originally developed by Borland, and is now used to quickly develop Windows programs such as database applications.
The W32/Induc-A injects itself into the source code of any Delphi program it finds on an infected computer, and then compiles itself into a finished executable, Sophos warned. The virus threatens software developers that use Delphi, but Sophos also warned many computer users running programs written in Delphi could be affected.
In the past 24 hours SophosLabs has received more than 3,000 unique infected samples of programs infected by W32/Induc-A. This suggests the malware has been active for some time, and a number of software houses specialising in developing applications with Delphi could have been infected.
Ironically, Sophos has also seen a number of banking Trojan horses - which are often written in Delphi - infected by Induc-A, indicating that the malware authors could also have been affected.
"Although most people aren't Delphi developers, there may be many computer users running programs written in Delphi that have been contaminated," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "It's possible that affected applications are available for download from the net on legitimate shareware sites or on magazine CD ROMs."
Businesses that may be using software written in Delphi are advised to ensure that their anti-virus software is updated. If a W32/Induc-A infection is found in a program, its developers should be contacted immediately, as it is possible the infection could be passed on to other customers.