New Worm, Old Tricks
My editor kept nagging me to offer a brief writeup on the latest e-mail worm that's making headlines, flagged by some anti-virus companies as "Mytob," so here it is.
Like tons of other similar threats out there, this nastygram spreads by getting people to click on the attached file, which harbors the virus. Mytob arrives in an e-mail bearing mundane subject lines like "good day" or "mail transaction failed." Clicking on the attachment infects the user's computer with the virus, which gives Mytob's authors control over the machine, which they can then use for spamming, attacking other computers, or whatever the bad guys feel like doing. Mytob also bars infected PCs from visiting security and anti-virus sites.
In truth, there's nothing especially new or interesting about this worm, except that it appears to be spreading pretty quickly. The two security holes the virus exploits were fixed in patches Microsoft issued last August and in July 2003. The reality is that if you're behind enough on patches to get infected with Mytob, your PC probably has far more serious problems than this worm-du-jour.
It probably goes without saying, but Linux and Mac users don't have to worry about this threat.
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