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Nasty email gives ANTS a case of worms

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An email purporting to offer a patch to a Trojan horse scanner, popular in Germany, is actually an Internet worm.

The Anset worm, which is doing the rounds on the Internet (and comes in three variants), spreads as an email attachment named ants3set.exe. THis poses as ANTS Version 3.0, but is actually a mass mailing virus that effects Windows machines. If you run the attachment, you get infected.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos Anti-Virus, said the trick of disguising malicious code as security software was "as old as the hills". A virus writer called Dark Avenger wrote a virus which claimed to be McAfee VirusScan in the early 1990s, he added.

The concern over the Anset worm, which in its current variants arrives contained in an email with the subject line "ANTS Version 3.0" and German body text, is that it will generate waves of infectious email rather than its destructive potential. Cunningly the email gives the name of the genuine ANTS home page, giving it a false veneer of authenticity.

Anset opens an Outlook address book and examines files with the extensions (.CGI, .HTM, .SHTM, .PHP and .PL) to find email addresses to which it can spread from infected machines.

Users are advised to go to the web site of security vendors to download security patches and updates and to be suspicious of updates sent by email, which is bad security practice.

Antivirus vendors are in the process of updating their software to detect the Anset worm and protection is now largely in place. ®

External Links

Write up of the Anset worm by Sophos

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