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Christmas computer virus delivers coal to e-mail inboxes

December 26, 2007 

Computer experts are warning users to be cautious when opening e-mails that promise holiday cheer after witnessing the resurgence of an old virus that litters your contact list with a glut of spam e-mails, tech blog Ars Technica says.

Earlier this year, the Storm Worm gave IT departments around the world countless headaches after millions of computers were infected after users clicked a link inside their e-mails that redirects them to a website that downloads malicious software. While anti-virus programs such as Norton Anti-Virus and Symantec have corralled the virus, the upcoming holiday season has given computer hackers a prime opportunity to capitalize on users already used to opening e-mails filled with holiday messages.

E-mail subjects such as "The Perfect Christmas," "Time for a little Christmas Cheer," “Mrs. Clause Is Out Tonight!” and “The Twelve Girls Of Christmas” contain a link to a website (merrychristmasdude dot com) that will try to install a video codec onto your computer, but instead will connect to a server located in Russia that will give the virus instructions to start spamming your friends, family and colleagues.

Aside from ensuring that your anti-virus software is up-to-date, Russ MCree at has a very detailed technical analysis of the Storm Worm while the SANS Internet Storm Center can instruct IT managers how to secure their networks.

Author:  David George-Cosh

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