WS>>Nasty new "W32/KLEZ.H" worm thrashes Microsoft Outlook users
carl william spitzer iv
cwsiv_2nd at JUNO.COM
Mon May 27 13:49:09 MDT 2002
By JOHN SCHWARTZ
rogue computer program that is the online equivalent
of a quick-change artist is infecting computers around the
world via e-mail and clogging computer networks.
The program, W32/KLEZ.H, is a "blended threat," combin-
ing elements of a virus, which infects machines, and a worm,
which transports itself from machine to machine. It also
tries to disable some antivirus programs.
It makes itself hard for users to spot by changing its
e-mail subject line, message and name of the attachment at
random, drawing from a database that includes, for example,
such subject lines as "Hello, honey," and "A very funny
The program has grown increasingly common as users
unknowingly activate it sometimes without even opening the
e-mail attachment that carries the virus and allow it to
send copies of itself to those in the victim's e-mail ad-
"It is exploding," said Keith Peer, chief executive of
Central Command, a computer security company.
The rapid spread of the program caused Symantec and
McAfee.com, two prominent computer protection companies, to
upgrade their warnings about it in recent days; Symantec
said on its Web site that it now considered the program a
"category 4" risk, its second-highest ranking.
The program exploits vulnerable spots in computer
programs, most notably a problem in earlier versions of
Microsoft's mail programs, Outlook and Outlook Express,
which allows some types of computer programs to be activated
even if they are in the "preview pane."
The program can also grab files randomly from victims'
hard drives and send them out, but it does little damage to
the machines themselves, antivirus companies said.
Microsoft has had patches available to fix these prob-
lems for more than a year, but many people do not keep their
software up to date, said Vincent Weafer, the director of
research at Symantec Security Response.
Although most antivirus software programs already
provided protection against the Klez family, the new variant
has enough new wrinkles to trick some of the digital sen-
tries. The latest versions of software have been updated to
block the worm, and the companies offer free online tools to
cleanse infected machines.
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