Repeated Virus Attacks Have Unintended Benefit - InformationWeek

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Repeated Virus Attacks Have Unintended Benefit

Damage from a potentially "very nasty" virus was blunted thanks partly to the Memorial Day holiday, partly to media coverage, and partly to the repeated virus attacks themselves.

By now, many people know not to open "Janet Simmons' " resum?, as it contains a damaging worm-style virus that deletes virtually all the files on a Windows-based machine. The latest worm, W97M.Melissa.BG (alias W97.Resume.A), spreads fast and uses Microsoft Outlook to E-mail itself as an attachment, according to researchers at the Symantec AntiVirus Research Center.

Frank Prince, a senior analyst with Forrester Research, says the so-called resum? worm surfaced Friday, just before the long holiday weekend, giving companies ample time to come up with defenses before employees returned to work Tuesday.

But an unintended benefit of the recent string of virus attacks is that people are becoming more cautious as a matter of online practice. Each new virus report is another preparedness drill, Prince says.

The body of the resum? worm's message reads:

To: Director of Sales/Marketing,

Attached is my resume with a list of references contained within. Please feel free to call or email me if you have any further questions regarding my experience. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,Janet Simons

If activated, the worm will attempt to send itself to every address in a machine's Microsoft Outlook address book. The worm will then copy itself to "C:\Data\Normal.dot" and to "C:\WINDOWS\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp\Explorer.doc." Once the user closes the document, the virus attempts to delete the following files:

- C:\*.*

- C:\My Documents\*.*

- C:\WINDOWS\*.*

- C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\*.*

- C:\WINNT\*.*

- C:\WINNT\SYSTEM32\*.*

- All files in drives A through Z

Resum? is a "very simple worm," says Carey Nachenberg, chief of virus research for Symantec. It may be related in design to the Melissa virus, which is included in its name.

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