Feeds

Britney Spears virus fails to chart

Hit me baby one more time - or not

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

An email-borne virus that tries to spread by tricking users into clicking an attachment that promises a picture of Britney Spears has found few takers.

Britney-A, a Visual Basic Script (VBS) worm, normally arrives at a victim's inbox with the subject line "RE:Britney Pics", body text "Take a look at these pics..." and infected attachment "BRITNEY.CHM."

The worm requires ActiveX to be enabled for the VBS to run and so it prompts the user to enable ActiveX with the message "Enable ActiveX To See Britny (sic) Pictures".

If a user is daft enough to do this, Britney-A will infect a victim's hard drive and send itself to all addresses in the Outlook address book. The worm, which is not particularly destructive, also attempts to distribute itself via Internet Relay Chat.

AV vendor Sophos reports receiving only one report of this worm in the wild, but in view of Britney's fame, the company is nonetheless encouraging users to be vigilant. Antivirus vendors are in the process of updating their packages to detect the worm and protection is now largely in place.

The virus writer has used standard social engineering tricks in creating Britney-A. Previous stars who've had viruses written about them include Anna Kournikova and Jennifer Lopez.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos Anti-Virus, said the modest spread of the virus doesn't necessarily imply that the old tactic of using sex to spread infectious code is running out of steam.

"It is encouraging that this virus isn't spreading but that might be because it didn't get lucky and reach the critical mass it needed to spread quickly after its release," Cluley said.

The design of the code - in particular requiring ActiveX to be enabled - might also explain the failure of the Britney-A to chart, said Cluley, who added that users should remember basic safe computing rules and not be coaxed into opening any unsolicited email attachments. ®

External links

Write up of the Britney Spears virus by Sophos
Guidelines for safer computing

Related Stories

Anna Kournikova virus spreading like wildfire
Anna Kournikova bug drops harmlessly onto the Net
Kournikova virus kiddie gets 150 hours community service
Users haven't learned any lessons from the Love Bug
Rise in viruses within emails outpacing growth of email
Hybrid viruses set to become bigger threat

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Webcam hacker pervs in MASS HOME INVASION
You thought you were all alone? Nope – change your password, says ICO
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.