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"iloveyou" Worm Makes Enterprises Squirm

A worm called “Loveletter” recently spread through enterprises, crippling Exchange servers and raising fears about future intrusions. The worm replicates itself by mailing itself to entries in victims’ address books.

“It’s not the same as Melissa, but, similar, in that it spreads through email attachments,” says Narender Mangalam, director of security for Computer Associates International Inc. (www.ca.com). Narender believes that the initial threat is to the Exchange servers of enterprises. The sheer volume of email the worm can generate can clog the servers.

The worm, spread through emails with “ILOVEYOU” or “IHATEYOU” in the subject line, consists of Visual Basic scripts attached to messages. The worm first creates emails sending copies of the worm to all addresses in users’ address books, then search four websites for software that can allow hackers to take control of afflicted machines. Currently the websites with the hacker software are down. In addition, the worm will infiltrate and rename frequently attached file types such as MP3s and JPEGs.

CERT (www.cert.org), the security research unit of Carnegie Mellon University (www.cmu.edu), has received over 150 reports of the worm when it was first discovered on May 4, 2000, more than average for a virus.

Users who receive emails with "ILOVEYOU" or "IHATEYOU" in the subject line of email should delete the email immediately to reduce the chance of spreading the worm. Mangalam is quick to point out that CA’s InoculateIT and InoculateIT PE can protect systems against the worm, once users have downloaded the signature file at www.cai.com/virusinfo. InoculateIT PE is a free product for desktop virus and worm scans. - Christopher McConnell

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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