E-mail virus is bugbear
© 2002 BBC
Tuesday, 1st October 2002 [Excerpt] - A computer virus that can steal
passwords and credit card information is spreading on thousands of PCs worldwide.
Called Bugbear, the virus can open computers to hackers, compromise secure
transactions and passwords, as well as disabling any anti-virus software and
firewalls that might be in place. According to security experts, there have
been over 7,000 reports of the virus so far.
Bugbear is a particularly vicious e-mail virus with a considerable payload.
It arrives in victims' in-boxes in the form of a random e-mail. The only tell-tale
sign of its danger comes in the size of the attachment, which is always 50,688
bytes. It is not even necessary for users to double-click on the attachment
as it exploits a known vulnerability in Microsoft Outlook which allows it
to open itself.
"Bugbear is a particularly vicious e-mail virus with a considerable
payload," said Mark Sunner, Chief Technology Officer at virus filtering
No time to patch
"Bugbear proves that new viruses can still take e-mail users and anti-virus
vendors by surprise and, as ever, is testament to be fact that new viruses
cannot be stopped effectively with anti-virus software," he said.
Although there are few new viruses in 2002, levels of computer crime activity
have never been higher.
According to security firm mi2g, September topped all previous records
for digital attacks with over 11,000 successful hack attempts.
For computer support staff, especially in large organisations, it is almost
an impossible job to keep up with the hackers.
"When there are tens of thousands of machines
across an organisation including servers and desktops it is difficult to manage
reboot-patch-reboot regimes on a near daily basis," said
mi2g Chairman DK Matai.
"Invariably some mission critical machines
don't get patched in time despite the best will to do so. Those
are perfect doorways for hackers and they are being exploited ruthlessly,"
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