Tech firms disagree on source of 'Naked Wife'
SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Brazilian and U.S. anti-virus specialists disagreed Wednesday about the origin of a malicious Internet virus spreading worldwide that promises pictures of a nude woman.
The "Naked Wife" virus crippling Microsoft Windows appeared on computers across the United States, Canada and Europe on Tuesday. At least one software company traced it back to Brazil although others suspected it came from the United States.
Security software maker Symantec Corp. said the virus appeared to have been written on Monday on a personal computer owned by a company called "AGF Brasil Seguros" and registered to a user named "MH Santos."
AGF Brasil Seguros is the Brazilian unit of insurance company Centrale des Assurance Generales de France.
But McAfee.com Corp., a U.S.-based Internet security services firm, said it was certain the virus did not originate in Brazil.
The virus "is from the United States and it does not have any relation with Brazilian companies," said Patricia Ammirabile of McAfee's Brazilian unit.
Marco Antonio Alves Vaquero Bicca of Symantec in Brazil said the information they had received from the United States was that the virus "could have possibly originated in Brazil" but he said no specific company was cited.
The press department at Sao Paulo-based AGF Brasil said Wednesday: "The company found out about the incident through press reports and is investigating them now."
Anti-virus software maker Trend Micro Inc. said it was still investigating the origin of the virus, while independent security consultant Andre Ptkowski said it was possible AGF Brasil did not know it had a virus in its system, or "a fox in the henhouse."
All of the security specialists agreed there had not been a single report of the virus in Brazil.
Dozens of companies reported infections by the virus on Tuesday, but by the afternoon anti-virus companies were already offering cures on their Web sites.
The bug promises e-mailers a video of a "Naked Wife." Instead of erotic images, however, the virus seeks to delete vital system files on the users' computers.
Similar to other viruses
The bug masquerades as a Macromedia Flash movie, using the subject line "Fw: Naked Wife." The e-mail message states that: "My wife never look like that! :-) Best Regards," and then adds the name of the sender.
If opened, the virus tries to delete key Windows and system files on the user's computer, leaving it unable to start properly, according to Susan Orbuch, a spokeswoman for Trend Micro. It also sends out copies to every e-mail address in an infected user's Microsoft Outlook address book.
Users choosing the Help/About menu from what seems to be a Flash video window receive an obscene message attributed to: "(C) 2001 by BGK (Bill Gates Killer)."
The logo in the counterfeit Flash file belongs to JibJab Media Inc., based in Brooklyn, New York. A JibJab executive said the virus did not come from the company and that the worm creator likely used its logo to gain the trust of e-mailer readers.
The "Naked Wife" comes on the heels of other dubious worms like the "Anna Kournikova" virus, which promise enticing pictures to convince the curious to open Trojan virus attachments.
To prevent virus infections, anti-virus experts recommend that people refrain from opening attachments from unknown sources and that corporate managers consider Internet content filters to block questionable e-mail.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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