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New worm tries to bring down Downing Street website

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AV firms are warning of the appearance of a new Internet worm which attempts to launch a distributed denial of service attack on the Downing Street website.

The Quaters worm spreads via email, using a variety of subject lines relating to account information, and by internet chat systems posing as an attempt to break an Internet chain mail world record. Few incidents of the worm have been spotted thus far, and it doesn't appear to be any great risk, nonetheless the overtly political nature of the worm is likely to capture the attention of UK authorities.

The worm, which naturally only affects Windows PCs, displays a message accusing Blair of wasting taxpayer's money on illegal immigrants rather than investing in the National Health Service and schools.

Quaters can overwrite files on the user's computer with the text "Infected by the WIN32.SORT-IT-OUT-BLAIR Virus!". It might also display the following message:

Dear Tony Blair,
Why are you spending all our taxes on illegal immigrants!?!
How about you stop worrying about other countries and worry about ours???
Stop spending money on immigrants and spend it on things like OAP's who fought to keep this country free but are now getting treated worst than illegal immigrants!
How about spend a little money on the NHS or the education system!?!
Think about it Mr Blair. Your career depends on it. We've had enough.

The worm also attempts to launch a DOS attack against number-10.gov.uk, the website of the Prime Minister's official residence, 10 Downing Street, London.

"Tony Blair is having enough problems with his chief spin doctor resigning and the Hutton Inquiry, without having an axe-grinding British virus writer causing mischief too," commented Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant, Sophos Anti-Virus.

It's far from the first time viruses have been included a political message.

Previous worms have highlighted the friction between India and Pakistan and other world leaders such as Bill Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Sharon have been attacked in the past.

Former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher suffered in the 1990s from the Fu Manchu virus, which replaced her name with an expletive whenever it was typed. ®

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