New virus infects PCs, whacks SCO

A mass-mailing virus quickly spread through the Internet on Monday, compromising computers so that they attack the SCO Group's Web server with a flood of data on Feb. 1, according to antivirus companies. The virus--known as MyDoom, Novarg and as a variant of the Mimail virus by different antivirus companies--arrives in an in-box with one of several different random subject lines, such as "Mail Delivery System," "Test" or "Mail Transaction Failed." The body of the e-mail contains an executable file and a statement such as: "The message contains Unicode characters and has been sent as a binary attachment."

"It's huge," said Vincent Gullotto, vice president of security software maker Network Associates' antivirus emergency response team. "We have it as a high-risk outbreak." In one hour, Network Associates itself received 19,500 e-mails bearing the virus from 3,400 unique Internet addresses, Gullotto said. One large telecommunications company has already shut down its e-mail gateway to stop the virus.

Once the virus infects a Windows-running PC, it installs a program that allows the computer to be controlled remotely. The program primes the PC to send data to the SCO Group's Web server, starting Feb. 1, a virus researcher said on the condition of anonymity.

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