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Going, going, Goner worm tries to delete security software

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Updated Goner, the latest mass-mailing email virus, is spreading rapidly on the Internet despite its relative lack of sophistication.

The worm (which is also known as Gone) spreads by email as a file attachment called GONE.SCR

It normally comes as an email with the subject line "Hi" and a body text that reads (much like SirCam):

"How are you ?

When I saw this screen saver, I immediately thought about you I am in a harry, I promise you will love it!"

If you're daft enough to click on the infected attachment, you get infected and spread the infection further.

On the face of it the worm is so simple no one could possibly be duped, but managed services firm MessageLabs reports that it has blocked over 30,000 copies already. One in 30 emails contains the virus, it reports, which is comparable to the infamous Love Bug.

Because the subject line and body text of Goner are always the same it should be easy to filter out. Antivirus firms are updating their virus definition files to block the worm and protection is now largely in place. ®

Update

Although first indications were that Goner did nothing beyond spreading it turns out that the virus has a number of unpleasant tricks up its sleeve.

It's been discovered Goner tries to disable some anti-virus and personal firewalls applications. As well as spreading via Microsoft Outlook, the worm also uses ICQ instant messenger. It isn't the first ICQ worm, but it's quite successful. If IRC chat application is installed, the computer can be used in Denial of Service (DoS) attacks.

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