New virus on the prowl this Christmas

Monday, 27 December 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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CHENNAI: If your e-mail inbox has messages with "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" as subject from someone you know, do not touch them, warns Trend Micro, a leading internet security services provider.

Christmas time is boom time for computer viruses like ZAFI, which attack systems via e-mails, it says. Trend Micro has issued an alert for a new variant of the ZAFI worm.

The ZAFI.D worm is doing the rounds in France, Germany and Spain and may visit Indian PCs as well in the holiday season, it warned.

The worm is attached to a file that pretends to be a holiday postcard greeting (for example "postcard.index"). The message may appear in different languages, based on the recipient's country domain.

Attachments appear in 12 KB size. Once inside the infected system, the worm drops a copy of itself under a legitimate-sounding file name.

Trend Micro this week also announced an agreement with MSN to provide anti-virus scanning and cleaning protection for the 187 million Hotmail email accounts.

The company's scanning services will now automatically protect Hotmail customers any time they send and receive email attachments.

"As penetration increases, the threat of viruses is also bound to increase significantly. The evolution of viruses often tries to outpace those who protect the world against viruses," Trend Micro Incorporated India's country head Niraj Kaushik told IANS.

"But facilities like our Manila based Trend Labs, are always equipped to come up with solutions almost immediately after they are detected," he said.

"The virus writer utilises the simple tactic of exploiting people's interest in receiving holiday greetings by email during this time of year," Trend Labs Europe chief David Kopp said.

"We urge everyone to be aware of this kind of social engineering, and not to run any suspicious attachments," he says.

The company employs over 500 engineers who work round-the-clock just to detect and identify new viruses and provide anti-virus for them.

"We often have turnaround time of just a few minutes," Kaushik told IANS.

The Tokyo based company began its India operations in 2001 and currently protects the Indian government's telecom, oil & gas, BPO, banking and finance and software sectors.

Among its significant users are the Life Insurance Corporation, the National Informatics Centre and the highly secure computers and servers of the central government.

It also has Fortune 1000 listed companies like Hughes Software, Aditya Birla Group, ONGC, Indian Oil, VSNL, Sify, Bharati Telecom, Spectramind, Excel and almost every large and medium software company in its client list.

Source: IANS
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