Feeds

Britney Spears virus fails to chart

Hit me baby one more time - or not

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Protecting against web application threats using 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

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks
Intel bods' analysis concludes 'no significant change' after whistle was blown
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.