Avril Lavigne becomes latest virus

Canadian popstar Avril Lavigne is just the latest in a growing list of celebrities that virus writers have chosen to use to mask their handy work.

The latest worm reaches the user’s inbox with subject lines such as Fw: Avril Lavigne- the best ever, among a variety of other words used to disguise the virus.

Once the attachment is run, the worm attempts to disable the user’s antivirus software and also behaves much like an ’80s film stereotype of viruses by taking over the screen with a series of coloured ellipses, according to information posted on antivirus software maker Sophos Inc.’s Web site.

The W32 worm is able to take advantage of a vulnerability in Microsoft Outlook, that allows it to forward itself to all e-mail addresses, whether the e-mail attachment is opened or not. Once executed, the worm opens the user’s Internet Explorer browser on the official Avril Lavigne Web site on the 7 th, 11 th and 24 th of the month, Sophos said.

Microsoft said it has already patched the Outlook hole. For details, visit Microsoft at www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/MS01-027.asp to download the security patch.