Sex sells, even for viruses

Virus writers have learned what motivates people on-line: sex. A recent virus attached to an e-mail purported to show a movie of someone’s naked wife, sending itself to the victims’ friends and deleting important Windows system files so that victims have to reinstall the operating system.

The virus, dubbed “NakedWife,” was rated a “high risk” because of its fast spread and nasty payload. Written in Visual Basic, the virus arrived as an e-mail attachment that looks like a Macromedia Inc. Flash movie. When it is opened, it sends itself to all recipients in Microsoft Corp. Outlook’s address book and then deletes numerous Windows system files.

“This can take a huge chunk out of your day, if not the entire day, to redo” the operating system, said April Goostree, virus research manager at Corp.

The new virus comes one year after the “ILoveYou” virus, which purported to be a Valentine’s Day e-mail, and one month after the “Tennis” virus, which purported to contain a photo of Russian tennis star Anna Kournikova. The Tennis e-mail did nothing more than send itself on to others, whereas the Love virus overwrote audio files and deleted image files.

“We’re seeing a lot more of these socially engineered viruses that are preying on people’s curiosity,” Goostree said. As users become more savvy and learn to scan attachments and take other precautions, virus writers are having to resort to other measures to get people to open attachments, she added.

“NakedWife,” which is classified as a worm due to its self-replication capabilities and a Trojan horse because it appears to be something harmless, is believed to have originated in the U.S. The first reports of infection came from a branch of the U.S. military that Goostree declined to name.

E-mail users generally are discouraged from opening e-mail attachments unless they know what they contain. Users should delete the e-mail if they receive it. Software from most antivirus vendors has been updated to prevent infection from “NakedWife.”

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

Previous article
Next article

Featured Articles

Cybersecurity in 2024: Priorities and challenges for Canadian organizations 

By Derek Manky As predictions for 2024 point to the continued expansion...

Survey shows generative AI is a top priority for Canadian corporate leaders.

Leaders are devoting significant budget to generative AI for 2024 Canadian corporate...

Related Tech News

Tech Jobs

Our experienced team of journalists and bloggers bring you engaging in-depth interviews, videos and content targeted to IT professionals and line-of-business executives.

Tech Companies Hiring Right Now