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Oops! Kaspersky Labs' antivirus mailing list became the unwitting vector for the spread of Braid, the latest email worm, today after script kiddies outfoxed the veteran Russian virus fighters.

Recipients to the mailing list looked on in bemusement, and some concern, as the original virus-ladened email generated multiple bounced messages this morning. These echoing messages bounced around the list for eight hours, we're told.

In a statement, Kaspersky Labs admitted the malicious messages was injected into its list after a "massive attack" against the company's Web server last night.

"The attack resulted in a group of hackers sending the subscribers of the Kaspersky Labs' email newsletter a message containing the recently discovered Bridex [Braid] worm," it admits.

Kaspersky Labs has apologised for any inconvenience, advising newsletter subscribers to delete the offending message. Legitimate messages on the list come without attachments, it advises. The company pledged to review its security procedures in light of the highly-embarrassing attack.

The company is seeking to downplay this point by pointing out that many large governmental and commercial institutions have already felt victims to hackers.

"During the last few years Kaspersky Labs has grown to become one of the leading virus experts and this status has attracted much attention from hackers resulting in daily attempts to penetrate of defences," said Eugene Kaspersky, Head of Anti-Virus Research at Kaspersky Labs.

"Currently we are conducting an investigation to reveal the sources of this attack and are taking the necessary measures with our security system to ensure that this type of attack will never succeed in the future."

Observers believed that Kaspersky Labs mailing list was hit by someone who simply got hold of the email address of the unmoderated list. This kind of attack wouldn't affect the firm's internal systems.

By Kasperky's own account its Web site was hacked, raising concerns about the integrity of AV signature files available from the site.

A spokesman for the firm said not to worry on that score. "Now everything is already fixed and running," he told us.

Which is meant to be reassuring, we think. ®

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