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There's precious little sign of any let-up on the virus front, with the emergence of a new mass-mailing worm.

The (perhaps aptly) named Sobig-A is a mass-mailing worm that incorporates an SMTP engine. The worm spread rapidly across the Internet last weekend, after first appearing on Thursday morning.

Managed services firm MessageLabs has, to date, blocked 16,969 copies of the bug. Sobig-A is most active in the UK and The Netherlands, from where the first copies of the bug were seen.

The worm normally spreads by email containing infectious .pif attachments (though it can spread through open Windows shares). Windows users daft enough to click of those attachments will get infected, and spawn a whole fresh batch of infections. Sobig searches the hard disk of infected users for email addresses of possible further victims. It also attempts to download files from the Net, as explained in more depth in an advisory by AV vendor Sophos.

Typical subject lines of infected emails include: Re: here is that sample, Re: Movies, Re: Sample and Re: Document. Messages normally come from the email address big@boss.com (hence the name given to the virus).

What else? Oh, as usual, the worm only burrows into Windows boxes leaving Apple and Linux users immune to its effects.

Standard precautions apply: update your AV software and consider striping executable attachments from email.

You know it makes sense. ®

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