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Old 06-13-2002, 18:09   #1 (permalink)
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New Net bug danger revealed

From The Daily Telegraph

EXPERTS are warning of a new strain of computer virus that infects digital photographs and has the potential to wreak havoc on the internet.

The new virus, labelled Perrun, infects pictures that are sent over the internet.
Though the bug hasn't been widely circulated, experts say the new strain, if perfected, could cause a great deal of damage.

"We are very concerned about its potential," said Vincent Gullotto, a computer virus researcher at McAfee Security, a prominent computer anti-virus company.

"It has the abilities to mutate into something that can infect a a whole range of computer files and data."

Most computer viruses work by infecting computer program files - files that tell a computer to conduct some sort of calculation.

One of the more common types of computer viruses arrive as an attachment to email. A user has to open the attachment to activate the virus.

By contrast, Perrun infects data files, such as pictures, word processing and simple emails themselves.

That means a malicious sender can infect another users computer by simply sending out an email, and the receiver doesn't need to open the message to start the digital infection.

However, the users must first have a component, called a "loader", in their computers, which can arrive through an email attachment, or piggy backed onto a downloaded program.

The current form of the virus is relatively benign, Gullotto said, but it has the potential to be changed by other virus writers into a "very dangerous" piece of code, he warned.

Gullotto said the company received a copy of the virus at its Aylesbury, England, laboratory from its creator today.
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