Mydoom hints at gloomy future

As the Mydoom virus continues to spread across the internet, security firms are warning that it could all get a lot worse.

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By  Peter Branton Published  January 28, 2004

As the Mydoom virus continues to spread across the internet, security firms are warning that it could all get a lot worse. Mydoom, also known as Novarg, has been causing chaos online this week, with reports estimating that at its peak as many as 10% of all e-mails being sent contained the virus. Experts believe it to be the fastest spreading virus ever, infecting more than 300,000 systems worldwide in a matter of hours. In the first 27 hours of infection, MessageLabs quarantined more than 1.5 million messages that included the virus. When installed on a victim’s machine, Mydoom scans the disk for e-mail addresses and sends out more infected e-mails. As well as e-mail, Mydoom spreads via the Kazaa file-sharing network, and companies are being advised to stop anybody using Kazaa within a corporate system. As well as installing a proxy server on the system, Mydoom installs a backdoor, which allows the virus writer to control the machine, and steal, change or delete data. Finally, the overall purpose is to launch a denial-of-service attack on Unix software vendor SCO. The attack is primed to begin on February 1 this year. SCO was hit with several denial-of-service attacks last year (although these were not virus-related), following its decision to claim it has copyright over key elements of the Linux open source operating system. Security experts believe the malicious intent of this virus shows that virus-writers are moving beyond a desire to make mischief to a desire to do real harm. “The danger of the integration of virus and spam technologies to create united, dedicated networks for cyber-criminals is becoming a reality,” said Eugene Kaspersky, head of anti-virus research at Kaspersky Labs. “This problem may well signal a new era in computer virology in the near-future, an era marked by even more frequent and serious outbreaks.” Meanwhile SCO is offering a $250,000 reward for information which leads to the arrest and conviction of the Mydoom writer, or writers. “The perpetrator of this virus is attacking SCO, but hurting many others at the same time,” said Darl McBride, president and CEO of the SCO Group. “We do not know the origins or reasons for this attack, although we have our suspicions. This is criminal activity and it must be stopped.”

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