The Zotob Worm

Tips & Hints

Posted 18 August, 2005

When you crash CNN, Boeing and General Motor’s computers, you know you have an effective virus. The Zotob worm jumped firmly into the news this week having done exactly that. What does it mean for home and small business users?

The first important note is that the specific worm that caused the headlines only affects Windows 2000 systems. Microsoft issued a patch to fix this problem two weeks ago. However variations of this virus do target other versions of Windows.

While the headline grabbing version is a worm, which means it sneaks in through an unprotected Internet connection, some of the other versions are trojan horses meaning they come in as email attachments or with spyware. We’ve noticed a related virus, Mytob, seems to be on many spyware infected systems.

All these viruses are avoidable. The obvious solution is to have an up-to-date anti-virus tool. Given Microsoft released a fix for the problem a week before the virus, this shows how important it is to install the regular Windows Updates. A firewall is another important layer of protection, you should not go on the Internet without that protection.

This worm, like most modern malware we see, doesn’t delete data. These are much more sinister, opening back doors and holes in your system. While most do it to create a nuisance, these things can be used to hijack your system and steal information.

While Zotob has caused a lot of headlines and anxiety for those infected, as a virus it’s not really anything new. By following the usual precautions, most home and business users can avoid it. If you’d like more information, Microsoft have a guide on what it is and how to avoid it.

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