Feeds

MyDoom is the worst virus ever

Switch off your auto-responder. Now!

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

SANS - Survey on application security programs

The prolific MyDoom worm has outpaced Sobig-F to become the fastest spreading virus ever, according to email filtering outfit MessageLabs.

MessageLabs blocked 1.2 million copies of MyDoom (AKA Novarg) in the 24 hours after it first appeared on Monday. At its peak the virus accounted for one in 12 emails.

In comparison, last August's SoBig-F pandemic peaked with one in 17 email messages containing a copy of the virus. MessageLabs blocked one million copies of SoBig-F in the first day of that outbreak.

Just like SoBig-F, much of the huge volume of crap generated by MyDoom is the result of auto-responder messages. As well as replies that someone is out of the office users are getting a stream of accusatory messages from anti-virus gateway products accusing them of sending a virus.

MyDoom spoofs the 'from' field in infectious emails, but AV products are still incapable of recognising this: hence the tide of confusing messages.

These auto-spam messages are stripped of viral attachments but still contribute to the message load on organisations which are otherwise protected against the virus.

We’re all MyDoomed

MyDoom attempts to spread via email and by copying itself to any available shared directories used by Kazaa. Emails have variable subject and attachment names and originate from spoofed email addresses.

Infected attachments have double extensions (e.g. .txt.pif or .htm.zip) in a ploy designed to disguise their hostile payload.

MessageLabs reckons this ploy is a major reason behind the rapid spread of the worm, but there may be additional reasons to consider.

Sneakily, MyDoom avoids sending itself to the email addresses of government departments or the military, in a possible move designed to avoid early detection. (See Symantec advisory here)

The longer a virus can spread without AV vendors noticing it the better the chance it has of reaching critical mass and thereafter wreaking maximum mayhem.

This is, as far as we are aware, the first time that virus writers have used this stealth-spreading approach, which further exposes the shortcomings of the scanner model in fighting rapidly spreading computer viruses.

So what is to be done?

MyDoom is programmed to packet SCO’s web site from infected machines starting February 1 and is programmed to stop spreading on February 12. Business users are advised to filter for Windows executables and zip files in their email. In the home, it's time to update AV signatures yet again. ®

Related Stories

SCO posts $250,000 worm bounty
Latest Email worm has SCO-facing payload
Sobig-F is dead
Sobig-F blamed for massive increase in spam
Sobig-F is fastest growing virus ever - official
Auto-responders magnify Sobig problem
Viruses and hackers make Windows more secure - Gates

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.