Experts warn of World Cup related JPEG viruses

Sybari Software warns that virus writers could use JPEGs as ‘carriers’ of as malicious code in JPEG World Cup e-mails.

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By  Greg Wilson Published  June 25, 2002

Experts are warning that Wednesday’s big World Cup semi-final between Brazil and Turkey could spark a wave of football-related viruses.

According to anti-virus vendor Sybari Software it's likely that virus writers will use JPEGs as ‘carriers’ of as malicious code, in order to take advantage of the rise in JPEG World Cup e-mails.

“High visibility events such as the World Cup often trigger a spate of emails with JPEGs and jokes traded between groups of friends and colleagues,” explains Bill Ryan, MEA regional director, Sybari Software.

“This is exactly the kind of environment that virus writers thrive in. Back in 1998 when the competition was held in France, a football-inspired virus attempted to trick users into gambling on who the winner might be,” he adds.

Since 1998 virus technology has evolved considerably and there are now certain kinds of e-mails that are capable of embedding themselves into JPEGs.

“Once the JPEG is opened, the malicious code installs itself onto the hard drive,” says Ryan.

“The worst case scenario is that somebody tries to ‘dribble’ a virus of this kind into our PCs in the aftermath of Friday’s match, when e-mails with JPEG attachments will be at a high and most people will open images up without thinking,” he predicts.

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