A worm that affects Linux systems and spreads by exploiting Web server-related vulnerabilities has been reported by antivirus companies, but so far Linux.Plupii, which is also known as Lupper, hasn’t spread much and isn’t seen as much of a threat.

The worm spreads by exploiting Web servers hosting vulnerable PHP/CGI programming language scripts, according to McAfee Inc. The worm is a derivative of the Linux/Slapper and BSD/Scalper worms from which it has taken its propagation strategy, McAfee said in information provided on its Web site about the worm, which was discovered Sunday.

The worm attacks Web servers by sending malicious HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) requests on port 80, McAfee said. If the server being targeted is running a vulnerable script at certain URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) and is configured to permit external shell commands and remote file download in PHP/CGI the worm could be downloaded and executed, McAfee said. It can also harvest e-mail addresses stored in Web server files.

The worm opens a back door on a compromised computer and then generates URLs to scan for other computers to infect and that can affect network performance, Symantec Corp. said.

Symantec rates the worm as having a medium damage and distribution threat. As of Tuesday morning, it hadn’t spread much and Symantec said it is easy both to contain and remove. McAfee assessed it as a low threat for both corporate and home users.

Linux users should update antivirus software and patches to protect against the worm, the companies said. Information about the worm can be found at McAfee’s Web site, and at Symantec’s Web site .



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