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Hackers, Virus Writers Take to War Theme

The beginning of war in Iraq prompted a rash of protest hacking on the Internet, with new war-themed viruses and Web page defacements directed at U.S., U.K. and Australian interests. But the devastating new worms and viruses that were predicted by some have so far failed to materialize. Unquestionably, the hostilities in Iraq have had ripple effects on the Internet, according to Mikko Hypponen, manager of antivirus research at F-Secure Corp. in Helsinki, Finland. Two new worms were discovered in the past two weeks with Iraq themes. One, named Prune, arrives in e-mail messages with the subject “US Government Material – Iraq Crisis.” An attachment named UN_Interview.txt.vbs launches the Visual Basic Script worm, which spreads copies of itself using e-mail, Internet Relay Chat and network shares, according to F-Secure. A second worm, Ganda, arrives in messages with a variety of subjects and messages, many of them linked to the tensions over Iraq such as “Spy Pics,” purporting to contain pictures from U.S. satellites, and “G.W. Bush animation.” Users are prompted to click on a Windows screensaver file attachment, launching the virus. Full Story

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