Shakira Worm Heralds Summer Virus Season
Mon Jun 10, 1:52 PM ET
Jay Lyman, http://www.NewsFactor.com
Enticing recipients by promising to display pictures of pop star Shakira, the latest Internet worm using the Colombian singer's name is about as basic as malicious code can get, yet it is spreading, albeit slowly.
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Antivirus experts said the worm, which was built with the same kit that was used to write the Anna Kournikova ( news - web sites) worm, also marks the end of school days and the beginning of summer vacation, meaning that more malware undoubtedly is on the way.
"This is someone just dinking around to see what they could do, not somebody with coding experience necessarily," McAfee.com ( Nasdaq: MCAF - news) virus research manager April Goostree told NewsFactor.
"Anybody who can get their hands on this kit can do it."
Shakira's Worldwide Tour
The worm, officially referred to as VBS/ VBSWG.aq@MM, contains the subject line, "Shakira's Pictures," a body that reads, " Hi : i have sent the photos via attachment Have funn...," and an attachment with the file name "ShakiraPics.jpg.vbs."
It spreads via Microsoft ( Nasdaq: MSFT - news) Outlook e-mail and Internet Relay Chat (IRC), and it overwrites .vbs and .vbe files with its own code, according to security advisories.
Symantec Security Response chief architect Carey Nachenberg, whose company rates Shakira a level 3 threat on a scale of 1 to 5, told NewsFactor that the worm has the potential to spread very rapidly.
Malware by Numbers
Nachenberg called Shakira a "wholly unremarkable worm" that was created with a basic virus-generating tool.
"It's really sort of a cookie-cutter worm," he said, noting that "the most unremarkable viruses are the ones that spread the best. Melissa, Loveletter -- these were not rocket science. The least interesting viruses happen to be the best [at spreading]."
On the other hand, Goostree said McAfee.com does not expect Shakira to spread significantly because it is covered by an old virus definition.
School's Out, Viruses In
Antivirus experts also referred to a "virus season" that, despite spanning half of the year, from March through September, may peak as students leave classes and have more time.
"You never know if it's free time, a break [from school] or a spin-off of a school project," Goostree said, referring to the profile of virus writers as school-age, 17- to 21-year-old males.
"I think you will see an increase with people that are away from school and have more time to dink around on the computer and wreak havoc, unfortunately," Nachenberg said.
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