Virus variants continue to multiply
April 2, 1999
by Kathleen Ohlson
(IDG) -- The number of offspring of "Melissa" continues to grow as a new virus has been discovered: Papa.b.
Called X97M/Papa.b, it works the same as Papa.a, except Papa.b has been "modified to avoid detection" with Papa.a patches, said Raul Elnitiarpa, a member of Symantec Corp.'s Antivirus Research Center. Papa.b makes "exact copies of itself using Outlook," sending e-mail to the first 60 names in multiple address books, he said.
The e-mail's subject line reads "Fwd: Workbook from all.net and Fred Cohen," with "Urgent info inside. Disregard macro warning" in the body text.
The virus also sends out pings to two Internet sites, including antivirus expert Fred Cohen. Cohen suspects he has been targeted as "a result of an interaction" with a group of hackers.
Meanwhile, another expert has determined that the original Papa virus doesn't replicate because of a bug within the virus. According to Sal Viveros, group marketing manager for Total Virus Defense at Network Associates Inc., the Melissa copycat virus doesn't have the ability to replicate and spread. Viveros' virus detection team first discovered the Papa virus in a Usenet newsgroup Monday.
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