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Fantasy soccer - real threat

A new Excel-based computer virus that targets fantasy football players has been identified by security specialist Sophos.

A new Excel-based computer virus that targets fantasy football players has been identified by security specialist Sophos.

The threat offers fantasty football fans an e-mail attachment, in the form of an infected Excel worksheet, with which to track their teams’ performance.

Named ‘XF97/Yagnuul-A’, the threat is an Excel formula virus (a type of macro virus). The Excel file it inhabits contains a Fantasy Football-like worksheet, containing predictions for matches in the Barclays Premiership.

In its online advisory, published yesterday, Sophos warned that when it is opened the virus "drops an infected fantasy football league spreadsheet” onto the user’s PC, which copies itself into all open Excel files and can also modify a user’s data.

According to Graham Cluley, Sophos’ senior technology consultant, "Fantasy football-like leagues have been set up in offices and fans often keep track of how well they are doing by using Excel spreadsheets. Every computer user needs to take great care not to fall foul of malware like the Yagnuul virus."

One of Sophos’ senior consultants, Ron O’Brien, added that fantasy football players tend to be prone to opening attachments from strangers, as they might claim to be fantasty football league members.

To read Sophos’s report on the virus, click here.

In another soccer-related story, Sophos experts last reported on a Trojan horse that has been sent out by spammers, posing as a wallchart for the upcoming World Cup 2006 football tournament in Germany.

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