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MyDoom virus back for second round


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WHAT IS A WORM?
A program that makes copies of itself -- for example, from one disk drive to another, or by copying itself using e-mail or another transport mechanism.
WARD OFF WORMS
Aside from installing anti-virus software,  Symantec suggests these tips to guard against computer worms:

•Don't open e-mail from an unknown source.

•Only open expected e-mail attachments.

•Don't automatically open e-mail attachments.

•Don't download programs from Web sites, unless you know and trust the source.

•Update your anti-virus software at least every two weeks.

Source: Symantec

LONDON, England (Reuters) -- Security experts issued fresh alerts over a new, file-deleting version of the MyDoom e-mail worm that was targeting computer users with greater ferocity Wednesday.

The new outbreak, known as MyDoom.F, emerged late last week and has been gathering steam ever since.

The virus is programmed to infect personal computers and use them to unleash a crippling digital barrage known as a denial-of-service attack on select Web sites belonging to Microsoft Corp. and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

The attacks failed to bring down the sites, though access to the Web site for the RIAA was hampered slightly on Wednesday, security firms reported. The RIAA, a lobbying group for the music industry, has drawn the ire of computer users since it began suing American online song swappers last year.

While it was not spreading as fast as its MyDoom predecessors nor as rapidly as last week's Netsky.B outbreak, MyDoom.F is considered a growing risk as it deletes random Microsoft Word and Excel files, plus photos and movies stored on an infected computer.

"MyDoom.F has been picking up pace since Monday and Tuesday," said Mikko Hypponen, manager of Finnish anti-virus research firm F-Secure. "The disturbing thing is that it has a destructive payload. We haven't seen a destructive virus like this in a while," he said.

Computer viruses rarely destroy files these days. They have instead evolved over the years to turn unsecured computers into "zombie" machines capable of carrying out the virus writer's commands.

Typically, this army of commandeered machines is used to send out torrents of e-mail spam messages, unleash digital attacks on targeted Web sites and, in some cases, host Web sites that sell everything from vitamins to pornography.

The first MyDoom worm surfaced in January and is considered the most virulent outbreak ever, infecting millions of computers around the globe.

Security firms were again advising computer users not to open mysterious-looking e-mails or click on their attachments if they are not certain of the sender's identity.

The latest outbreak arrives in e-mail in-boxes carrying a variety of subject header lines including: "Approved," "Your Credit Card" and "You use illegal File Sharing...Your IP was logged."



Copyright 2004 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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