Feeds

Britney Spears virus fails to chart

Hit me baby one more time - or not

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

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

The next step in data security

More from The Register

next story
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.