A virus writer using an Iraq Resistance e-mail address is claiming responsibility for a worm called “Here you have” that reached 10 percent of all Internet spam receivers last week, according to the Register. The malicious worm impacted Disney, Wells Fargo, Google, Comcast, and NASA computer systems, and was most widely felt in the U.S. The malware pointed those who followed the link to sites that supposedly directed users to free pornography, but actually infected their machines and propagated itself via e-mail to contacts on the user’s machine. The virus can also be spread via networks.
The site associated with the worm is no longer functional.
McAfee Labs has deemed the virus a medium risk, and has encouraged users to delete any e-mails with the words “Here you have” or “Just for you,” as reported by eChannelLine. The first line of defense, though, is to never open attachments from anyone unless you are absolutely certain you know what the attachment is and why it was sent — and even then, it’s not a bad idea to verify the attachment before opening it.
In 2001, a series of similar viruses was widely distributed, one of the most memorable being the Anna Kournikova virus. It tricked users into attempting to view images of the tennis player, but instead delivered a viral payload to the unsuspecting user’s computer. The Melissa virus, written by David L. Smith, caused $80 million in damage to e-mail systems worldwide. Smith was sentenced to 20 months in federal prison over the incident. Prior to 2001, an equally vicious piece of code known as ILoveYou also sent itself to all users within someone’s Outlook e-mail contacts list.
The Orange County Register reports that, in 2003, the SQL Slammer shut down Internet service in South Korea. The worm doubled every 8.5 seconds in its first few minutes of circulation, reached 75,000 users in 10 minutes and had a global impact.
That is essentially how computer worms operate. Worms can corrupt or modify files on a system; even reportedly “good” worms have a negative impact on systems, as they eat up bandwidth and usually do their work without the consent of the user.
To further protect yourself, always use strong passwords on your system, keep an up-to-date antivirus software functioning on your system, make sure your shared folder is secured, and keep your system current with the latest security updates to prevent weak security exploits from accessing your system. But most importantly, use common sense when checking your email.
John Leyden, “Cyber-jihad hacker claims credit for ‘Here you have’ worm” The Register
Mark Cox, “”Here You Have” worm delivers blast from the past” eChannelLine
Angela Potter, “Five computer viruses: then and now” Orange County Register