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Latest e-mail virus set to tell your secrets

July 24, 2001

A new e-mail virus is threatening to sweep across the country and send confidential or embarrassing documents to unsuspecting computer users, it emerged today. SirCam is a more sophisticated version of viruses such as the so-called Love Bug and the Anna Kournikova worm, and it randomly selects files from a computer's hard drive to send to every name in the victim's address book.

Potentially embarrassing or commercially sensitive material could be e-mailed to friends or clients. Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant with company Sophos Anti-Virus based in Abingdon near Oxford said: "We've had hundreds of reports of companies being hit by this virus.

"It comes as an attachment with an e-mail but it's clever, not only does it scoop up confidential documents on your computer it sends them to everybody in your address book.

"It may well send confidential company secrets or merger plans and at a trivial level your plans to get your boss sacked and take over the company."

He added: "It damages credibility and confidentiality and is much worse then deleting files on your hard drive."

The virus is activated by opening the attachment and could have originated from Argentina where a series of viruses have been produced, Mr Cluley said. It was first noted by anti-virus companies last week and has the added trick of changing the message in the e-mail subject line every time it attacks a new computer. Instead it uses the name of the file that has been taken from the computer's hard disk.

Mr Cluley said users should check all e-mails they receive even those from people they know. He added: "If people up date their anti-virus software they should be protected."

By Tony Jones, PA News, Copyright © 2001 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd


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