Norwalk, Connecticut – (The Hosting News) – February 3, 2006 – A former master forger and leading fraud
prevention expert is warning that a new family of computer worms which targets and
attacks the Windows operating system, is set to hit millions of computer
users across the Internet tomorrow.
Worm and virus attacks prey mostly on consumers – and those
who have not purchased or recently updated their Internet security software
are more vulnerable. These attacks can also allow a criminal to obtain
personal information that could be used to steal individual identities.
Once activated, these worms – which will attack computers under the names
Nyxem.E, CME-24, BlackWorm, Mywife.E, KamaSutra and VB.bi. – will corrupt all
documents on an infected machine with the following file extensions: .dmp,
.doc, .mdb, .mde, .pdf, .psd, .ppt, .pps, .rar, .xls and .zip.
According to Frank W. Abagnale, ”That means almost all files created using Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel or Microsoft PowerPoint could be lost forever, as well as certain Adobe Photoshop files, PDF files used by Adobe Acrobat and competing PDF readers, and several kinds of database and compression files. These worms are generally meant to help spammers and hackers carry out attacks, so the impact this time may be more severe than recent outbreaks.”
Hundreds of thousands of Windows machines are believed to have already been infected, mostly in India, Peru, Turkey and Italy, according to Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer for anti-virus and security company F-Secure Corp.
Microsoft Corp. issued an advisory Tuesday warning customers about the worm, which affects most versions of Windows. The worm also tries to disable anti-virus software that is out of date, Hypponen said. Thus, users should make sure their software is turned on and has the latest definitions. Users should be safe if they have the latest anti-virus software or if their computers are set with limited privileges, a common setting in larger organizations and companies. They are vulnerable if they, like many small business and home users, leave their computers set with full administrative rights.
Users should also check the date on the computer. The worm hits the third of every month, so if the computer’s local calendar settings are off, Hypponen said, files may be destroyed sooner or later, even if the computer is never turned on Friday.
Mr. Abagnale added, ”The installation of a firewall that prevents unauthorized access to your computer is especially important if you leave your computer connected to the web though a DSL or cable modem.”
If you find it difficult to keep your PC software up-to-date, Mr. Abagnale suggests joining a service such as PC SafetyPlus (www.pcsafetyplus.com), which provides F-Secure virus protection and a personal firewall to thwart hackers and other online threats. PC SafetyPlus software features automatic updates and service upgrades for protection against prevailing computer viruses and worms.
PC users should also update their Microsoft operating system regularly.