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Homepage Net worm spreading like wildfire

Uses same tricks as Kournikova virus

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A virus that uses the same tricks as the Anna Kournikova worm is spreading like wildfire.

Homepage-mm, an Internet worm written using Microsoft Visual Basic scripting language, and possibly based on the same toolkit as the Anna worm, is assaulting to email servers of European firms this afternoon.

Alex Shipp, an antivirus technologist at managed services firm MessageLabs, which scans its customers email for viruses, said that at least two firms have decided to shut off their email servers in order to contain the spread of the worm.

He said the Homepage worm, which appears to have been produced using the same toolkit as the Anna worm, was unleashed into the wild in Asia overnight and having gained a foothold there is spreading at rates slightly higher than the Anna bug. So far MessageLabs has intercepted 9,000 copies of the Homepage worm, a run-rate slightly higher the Anna outbreak.

The worm arrives at a user's machine via email with the subject line "Homepage" and a text message that states "Hi! You've got to see this page! It's really cool ;O)". If a user click on the attachment to the message "homepage.HTML.vbs" their machine becomes infected.

Homepage then emails a copy of itself to everyone in a user's Outlook address book and set the home page of a user's Web page to one of four randomly selected porn sites.

MessageLabs' Shipp said we are lucky the virus does not contain a malicious payload. He said users might be tempted to open the attachment because it would come from someone they know and because it was "so simple it's believable".

Bruce Walton, UK managing director of antivirus vendor Command Software, said that AV vendors had updated their virus definitions overnight and urged users to update their software to protect themselves from the virus. ®

External links:
Homepage worm write-up from Command Software
MessageLab stats on the virus outbreak

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Rise in viruses within emails outpacing growth of email
Anna Kournikova bug drops harmlessly onto the Net
Users haven't learned any lessons from the Love Bug
Microsoft security fixes infected with FunLove virus
Virus plague causes charity to consider Linux

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