"Pentagone" virus spreads rapidly

A mass-mailing e-mail worm started to spread quickly Tuesday, prompting antivirus software makers to advise their customers to upgrade their virus definitions.

Dubbed Pentagone, Goner or Gone, the Visual Basic Script program spreads via e-mail and the messaging system ICQ. On infected computers, it stops most antivirus and security programs.

"We are kind of seeing it follow the sun at the moment," said Mark Sunner, chief technology officer for e-mail service provider MessageLabs. "It has been waiting in in-trays of people coming into work."

MessageLabs has captured more than 23,000 e-mails containing copies of the worm, said Sunner, adding that the rate, now at about 100 messages per minute, is increasing.

The worm only affects computers running Microsoft Windows and spreads through Outlook e-mail clients. Macs and computers running Linux or other Unix-like operating systems are unaffected.

The worm arrives in a message with the subject "Hi" and the following text in the body of the e-mail:

How are you ?

When I saw this screensaver, I immediately thought about you

I am in a harry, I promise you will love it!

Attached to the message is what appears to be a screensaver file, Gone.scr, a compressed copy of the worm.

News source: CNET

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