Virus 'Nimda' detected

The newest virus to deluge the Internet can infect servers and you may not even know that your system is infected

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By  Guy Mathew Published  September 19, 2001

There is a new virus on the loose as of yesterday morning and although it is too early to predict, it is already causing some serious problems for business and home users alike. Called Nimda, it is affecting servers as well as PCs. It can gain access through Internet Explorer and Outlook and is able to gain control of servers using Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) software.

“It is certainly out there and a lot of users have been affected in the last 18 hours,” warned Graham Cluley, senior security manager at anti-virus company Sophos.

“There are a number of vulnerabilities that the virus is exploiting," he continued. “We are recommending to people, not only update your anti-virus software, but visit the Microsoft website and download the patches available and make sure they are applied.”

This virus is more than a problem of email overload because of it ability to gain server access, say sources. That allows it to deliver infected Web pages to users who visit infected sites. What adds to the problem is that its activation is fully automated i.e. users do not have to open an email attachment to become infected. “It can launch without your knowledge,” says Cluley. He recommends a barrier in organisations’ email gateways to automatically reject any mail with an .exe attachment.

According to reports from the US, the FBI has started a taskforce to look at the origins of the virus but is has found no evidence to suggest it is linked to last weeks attacks as some had feared.

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