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Miss World Virus finds few takers

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Internet vandals have created an email-borne virus which attempts to trick users into spreading it by promising pictures of Miss World candidates.

The Miss World bug is yet another mass mailing worm, which uses exactly the same tricks as the Anna Kournikova virus, Hompage bug (et al) to spread.

The latest bug contains a highly damaging payload, which among other things attempts to format a user's hard disk drive and overwrite essential Windows files (including system.dat). However early indications are that it is not spreading - giving rise to the hope users have finally learned their lesson about suspicious email attachments.

MessageLabs, a managed services firm which scans its user's for malicious code, has intercepted just two copies of the bug. Last week a virus which promised to offers naked pictures of Jennifer Lopez also proved to be something of a damp squib - so maybe the old tactic of using sex to spread infectious code is running out of steam, we hope.

The Miss World virus arrives as an infected attachment in an email from a source the potential victim is likely to know, because it spreads by forwarding itself to addresses obtained from an infected user's Microsoft Outlook address book. In this case the message is likely to have the subject line "Miss World" and a message featuring the phrase "Enjoy the latest pictures of Miss World from various Country".

According to antivirus firm Sophos, opening the infected attachment (which might be called 'MWld.exe', 'MWrld.exe' or 'MissWorld.exe') launches a flash animation featuring a birthday cake and the message "I fall more in love with you each day!"

The worm also shows images claiming to be contestants in the Miss World beauty contest. Images shown include those claiming to be Miss Africa (who appears with her head replaced with that of a gorilla) and Miss UK (whose head is replaced with Rowan Atkinson's Mr Bean). ®

External links

Sophos' write-up of the Miss World virus

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Reports of death of email viruses greatly exaggerated?
Rise in viruses within emails outpacing growth of email
Anna Kournikova bug drops harmlessly onto the Net
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