The "spam" virus

Tips & Hints

24 February, 2005

A new virus tricks users into thinking they're spammers.

For the last week an email virus has been circulating claiming to be a message warning about spam. This has worried a lot of people who have received it. The warning appears real and the subject is serious.

This is a serious warning, if your computer starts sending messages on its own, then your mcahine has almost certainly been hacked. Most spam is sent from machines that hackers control. So a real warning like this from your Internet provider is serious.

In this case, the message is false. People are getting pretty smart about viruses and the virus writers are finding it harder to get people to open them. The new version of Mydoom poses hopes to fool someone by claiming the recipient is sending spam is being sent from their account.

While the attached virus is a concern, it is the email message that is the real problem for many people. If your computer starts sending messages on it’s own, then your machine has almost certainly been hacked. So a warning like this from your Internet provider is credible and serious.

The virus itself is one of the Mydoom family, which has been around for nearly two years. The latest variations of it, including this one, not only steal email addresses but also put backdoor programs on the victim’s systems. These things are why it is important to keep an up to date anti virus on all computers.

The simplest way to avoid this virus is not to open it. Up to date virus checkers will detect it and good firewalls will prevent it spreading. Mac and Linux users are not affected.

Messages from your ISP should be taken seriously. But any message, from anyone, that claims your system is infected with viruses or hacked should be treated as suspect. If you receive these messages and are unsure about them, contact the sender of the message to confirm it is genuine.


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