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Virus that exploits World Trade Center terror unleashed

Network World Fusion

By Ellen Messmer

(IDG) -- Antivirus software vendors are warning about a new computer virus dubbed "Vote" that exploits the World Trade Center terrorist attack to entice victims to open up the dangerous attachment it carries which can wipe out files on victims' PCs.

According to Computer Associates, the Vote virus is a mass-mailer virus, seen first in North America, and is spreading across the Internet by looking at the victim's Outlook address book to mail itself off to more victims. The Vote virus arrives in the victim's e-mailbox with the subject header "Peace between America and Islam!"

According to CA's vice president of eTrust Security Solutions, Barry Keyes, the body of the Vote message reads: ""Hi, is it a war against America or Islam? Vote to live in peace!" The e-mail carries an attachment, WTC.exe, which when opened reveals the disturbing message, " a few days will show you what we can do!!!" INFOCENTER
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Then the virus tries to overwrite the PC's HTML files and drops a Visual Basic file onto the victim's C drive to delete everything in the Windows directory. The Vote virus attempts to re-format the C drive when the machine is re-booted.

While there are no new virus techniques displayed in the Vote virus - it works similarly to the so-called "Naked Wife" virus of earlier this year - organizations should make sure to advise employees not to open attachments with the WTC.exe executable file.

"This mass mailer virus is exploiting the recent events at the World Trade Center to use social engineering to trick people into opening it," Keyes points out.

Other antivirus vendors, including Trend Micro, were also issuing an alert about the Vote. The antivirus software vendors note that organizations will need to download their products' antivirus signature updates to protect against the Vote at the gateway or on the desktop.

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