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An email virus that poses as pictures of a nude glamour model actually contains malicious code designed to launch denial-of-service attacks on websites run by Chechen separatists.

The Maslan-C worm spreads via email with the subject line '123' and an attached file called 'Playgirls2.exe'. It also spreads across network shares. Running the infected attachment further spreads the email worm as well as turning infected PCs into participants in a distributed denial-of-service attacks. This attack is timed for the first day of each month. But since Maslan-C has infected few victims it is unlikely that its programmed actions will succeed in swamping targeted websites.

"These websites play a key role in the propaganda war between the Chechen rebels and the Kremlin," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Clearly whoever has written this virus wants to make it harder for the Chechen separatists to publish information about their cause on the internet. Whether you agree with the intention or not - spreading a virus to do this is clearly criminal behaviour." ®

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