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Goner' Worm Hitting Corporate, Individual PCs

  • Subject: [cg] Goner' Worm Hitting Corporate, Individual PCs
  • From: Laura Berman <laura@foodshare.net>
  • Date: Tue, 04 Dec 2001 20:55:55 -0500

Hi All,
Here's another virus alert, especially if you use Outlook for email.  Click
on the link for virus scan & repairs.



'Goner' Worm Hitting Corporate, Individual PCs
Updated: Tue, Dec 04 3:35 PM EST
By Elinor Mills Abreu and Bernhard Warner

SAN FRANCISCO/LONDON (Reuters) - A new computer worm named "Goner" was
spreading quickly through corporate and personal e-mail inboxes on Tuesday,
deleting system files and clogging networks in what could be the biggest
outbreak since last year's "Love Letter" virus, security software vendors

"Goner is one of the most incredibly fast moving and potentially dangerous
e-mail viruses we've seen," said Mark Sunner, chief technology officer of
MessageLabs Inc.

The worm, a virus that propagates itself to other computers through the
Internet or other networks, is affecting users of Microsoft Corp.'s Outlook
and Outlook Express, said Ian Hameroff, business manager of security
solutions at Computer Associates International Inc.

People using ICQ instant messenger and Internet Relay Chat also are
susceptible to the worm because files can be transferred across those
networks, Hameroff said.

The Goner worm arrives in an attachment masquerading as a screensaver, with
an e-mail subject line of "Hi" and text that says: "How are you? When I saw
this screen saver, I immediately thought about you I am in a harry (sic), I
promise you will love it!"

Once the attachment is clicked, the worm sends itself to everyone in the
user's e-mail address book, tries to close programs that are running and
deletes certain system files, including security software, said Hameroff.

Goner also tries to install a denial of service script on machines of IRC
users, said Symantec Corp. . That could turn PCs into launch pads for denial
of service attacks, which malicious hackers use to flood Web servers with
traffic from multiple PCs, effectively shutting down Internet sites to
legitimate traffic.

"This is at outbreak status, which is very rare," said April Goostree, virus
research manager at McAfee.com.
"The last outbreak we had was 'Love Letter' in May 2000."

A virus is given outbreak status by McAfee.com if it is determined to be
spreading quickly and affecting large corporate networks as well as
individual computer users, Goostree said.

One of the nastier aspects of the virus is its attempt to disable antivirus
and firewall software, so that victims have to reinstall the software in
order to prevent future infections, said Sunner of MessageLabs.


UK-based e-mail security outsourcer MessageLabs Inc. said it was receiving
more than 100 copies of the worm a minute, totaling about 23,000 worldwide
since early Tuesday morning, with users in 17 countries hit.

Anti-virus software firm Trend Micro Inc. said it had recorded infections in
17,000 work stations and 30,000 corporate e-mail accounts across Europe,
primarily in France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

The first report came from a French company on Tuesday afternoon, said
Raimund Genes, Trend Micro's European vice president of sales. The firm has
issued a "high risk" warning on Goner, the same rating it assigned this
summer's virulent Code Red worm

"I expect by tomorrow morning we will see something in Asia, and then from
Asia, we'll see re-infections in Europe," Genes said.

The origin of the worm remained unclear. Trend Micro and McAfee.com said
they suspect it originated in France. But Mikko Hypponen, manager of
anti-virus research for Finland-based F-Secure, said he had his doubts, as
the first recorded infections came from the United States and South Africa.

Hypponen also said he thought it suspicious that some of the victims were
ICQ instant messenger and Internet Relay Chat users. "It's most likely
written by a teenager targeting other teenagers," he said.

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