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'MyDoom' Worm Knocks Out SCO Web Site

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By Matti Huuhtanen
The Associated Press
Sunday, February 1, 2004; 2:26 PM

HELSINKI, Finland - The Internet computer virus known as "Mydoom" will continue to hit e-mails on computers worldwide until Feb. 12, when it is programmed to stop, a leading computer security company said.

"After that date it won't spread if the tainted computers are dated correctly," Mikko Hypponen, director of antivirus research at F-Secure, said Friday. "Of course, all computer clocks aren't always accurate, or dated correctly."

F-Secure, a Helsinki-based computer security company, was one of the first to warn of the dangers of the e-mail worm, also known as "Novarg," earlier this week.

The worm spreads in e-mail attachments on computers using Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating systems and is activated when people read their mail. It is programmed to launch a worldwide attack on the Web site of SCO, one of the largest unix vendors in the world. Security experts described it as the biggest virus-like outbreak in months, made more problematic by its timing.

Unlike most computer worms which usually strike only once, Mydoom is particularly vicious because it will spread continuously from infected computers until Feb. 12, Hypponen said.

"It's hit hundreds of thousands of users worldwide, but we aren't quite sure how many hundreds of thousands. Anyhow, it's all over the place," Hypponen told The Associated Press.

He said his company had contacted officials in various countries, but were no closer to finding out who was behind the worm.

"We don't know where it's come from. There have been very few clues as to where to look, and we don't even know which continent we should be looking at," Hypponen said.

On Thursday, Microsoft Corp. promised to pay US$250,000 to anyone who helps authorities find and prosecute the author of the fast-spreading virus. The cash reward is the third so far under a US$5 million program Microsoft announced in November to help U.S. authorities catch authors of unusually damaging Internet infections aimed at consumers of the company's software products.

Hypponen said the original Mydoom.A worm is still the most active, while the feared B worm - by the same author as the A worm - had proved to be much milder. Experts are not sure if Mydoom.B has been programmed to end at a specific time.

"It's of little significance really, because it hasn't spread very wide," Hypponen said.


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© 2004 The Associated Press

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