Please do not open any messages that has the title:
"Here you have" or
"Here you have, ;o"
and an attachment containing
It is a new type of virus!
Monday February 12 8:14 PM ET
Anna Kournikova Photo Is Computer Virus in Disguise
By Lisa Baertlein
PALO ALTO, Calif. (Reuters) - Hackers are using a promised photograph of
sexy Russian tennis star Anna Kournikova (news - web sites) to serve up a
fast-spreading computer virus.
The virus struck computers in Europe and the United States overnight. It
uses a so-called worm to spread in the same manner as last year's ``Love
Bug'' or ``Love Letter'' virus, which infected an estimated 15 million
computers and sent servers crashing around the world after unsuspecting
people opened an e-mail with ''I Love You'' on its subject line.
``It's an old virus concept but you put a pretty face and a nice pair of
legs on it and people open it,'' Steve Gottwals, director of product
marketing for F-Secure Corp, said.
Moscow-born Kournikova, 19, is the world's ninth-ranked female tennis
player and has never won a WTA title.
Her off-the-court profile, however, has captured the imaginations of many,
stroked by a provocative photo spread in the June 5 issue of Sports
Illustrated and her rocky romantic links to hockey player Sergei Fedorov,
of the Detroit Red Wings.
LOVE BUG REDUX?
The Kournikova virus -- which also is being referred to as ''VBS'',
``SST'' or ``On The Fly'' -- was first discovered in August and has been
found in more than 50 large corporations, including Fortune 500s, Network
Associates Inc. (NasdaqNM:NETA - news) said in a statement.
``This is the biggest thing since the Love Letter,'' David Perry, global
director of education for Trend Micro Inc. (NasdaqNM:TMIC - news), said.
Perry said users of his company's antivirus software have reported 50 to
100 Kournikova hits per hour, but he and other security experts do not yet
know how many computers have been affected.
The subject line on the Kournikova virus e-mail reads: ``Here you have,
;o)''. The body of the e-mail says ``Hi: Check this!''
When users of Microsoft Corp.'s (NasdaqNM:MSFT - news) Outlook e-mail
software open the attachment, which is disguised as a photo file, the
virus infects their computers and sends itself to every name in the users'
``It's not dangerous in a sense that it's data destructive,'' said Vincent
Weafer, director of the Symantec Antivirus Research Center. The Kournikova
virus and others like it are damaging because they have the potential to
clog e-mail systems and to cause servers to crash.
``They spread and burn very quickly, but die very quickly,'' Weafer said.
One San Francisco analyst, who got a half-dozen of the Kournikova e-mails
before his firm's server went down, wanted to know if people opened the
e-mail attachment without a promise of a nude photo.
When he learned that was the case, he laughed and said, ''Idiots.''
Antivirus experts said it appeared the virus had been built from a
programming tool kit created by a hacker known as ''Kalimar''.
If the virus is not completely flushed from a computer, it will
automatically connect to the Web site of a Dutch company called Dynabyte
on Jan. 26 each year, they said.
Virus watchers at Trend Micro believe that Kournikova was written by a
hacker in Holland who used the handle ``On The Fly''.
Others disagreed about the geographic origins of the virus, saying that
the link to the Dutch company was likely a way to throw law enforcement
off the hacker's scent.