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SirCam virus not as destructive as first thought

The widely-publicised "SirCam" worm has infected hundreds of thousands of PCs around the world, but anti-virus organisations have urged companies not to panic.

The widely-publicised "SirCam" worm has infected hundreds of thousands of PCs around the world, but anti-virus organisations have urged companies not to panic, despite being listed as a “high risk.”

"We escalated this to 'high risk,' but it is not a blockbuster virus on the order of Love Letter or Melissa," said David Perry, global director of education for antivirus-software maker Trend Micro.

SirCam is presently the world’s most prevalent bug, according to Trend Micro, with more than 7,100 infections reported to the company from around the world. SirCam was also number one with McAfee, with 144,000 infections reported so far. A major part of the reason the worm has stayed below epidemic status is that the most fertile breeding grounds for a worm— large corporate e-mail systems— are for the most part equipped with security filters that reject infected messages.

The worm spreads by e-mailing copies of itself to everyone in the infected PC's Windows address book. It also sends itself to any e-mail addresses contained in the Web browser's cache files, which store recently viewed pages.

Another potentially dangerous element of the worm is that it sends a randomly chosen file from the infected PC's hard drive, potentially sending confidential business data or embarrassing personal information along with itself. The e-mail subject line matches the name of the file being sent.

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