Security firms on Monday warned of a recently discovered mass-mailer worm, which is spreading around the world.

The W32/BAGLE@MM, otherwise known as Bagle or Beagle, reaches end users’ computers via a .EXE e-mail attachment. The subject line of the e-mail is “Hi,” and, according to security firms, the following text appears in its body: “Test =),” followed by a series of random characters, and then “– Test, yep.”

The name of the attached file has appeared as more than one thing, but it is usually a random series of characters, according to PandaLabs, a division of Glendale, Calif.-based security firm Panda Software.

Once on a user’s system, the virus e-mails itself to addresses it finds on the computer it has infected. According to Network Associates Inc.’s McAfee Anti-Virus Emergency Response Team (AVERT), the worm collects addresses from both the “To” and “From” fields, and uses its own STMP engine to send itself, making it impossible for the recipient to see who the true sender is.

According to F-Secure Corp. in Helsinki, the new worm affects computers running a variety of versions of Microsoft Corp.’s Windows operating system. This includes Windows 95, 98, 2000, Me, NT, Server 2003, and XP, the firm said. The company also found that Bagle is programmed to stop spreading on Jan. 28, 2004.

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