Virus fighters catch NakedWife worm in the act

"Compared to the Anna Kournikova and I Love You viruses this worm did not get anywhere at all," said André Post, senior researcher at Symantec's Antivirus Research Center (SARC). "If I have to make an educated guess, I would say a few thousand computers were infected."

First reports on the worm came in at around 10:00am EST Tuesday. By the end of the workday on the US East Coast the spread of the virus had stopped, said Post.

"Quick acting on our side doesn't guarantee anything if users don't react. Wide spreading was also prevented by the increased virus awareness amongst customers," said Post, adding that wide media coverage also contributed.

SARC received "about 40" reports from customers with infected systems, most of which were in the US, a few in Canada and a few in Europe. McAfee, a division of Network Associates, reports lower numbers with 15 customers hit in North America and three in Europe. Asia, it seems, wasn't hit at all.

"Asian businesses had already closed for the day when the worm surfaced. When they opened on Wednesday the worm had been dealt with," said Post.

Both McAfee and SARC said NakedWife most likely was created in South America.

"We suspect the worm originated in Brazil. Virus writers typically add their nickname to the viruses they write and we keep a close eye on the writers," said Post, noting that most new viruses come out of South America. "Viruses are hot there."

Although NakedWife didn't make it far, McAfee still rates the worm "high risk."

"We gave it that rating because of the destructive payload," said Marius van Oers, virus research engineer at McAfee in Amsterdam. "I expect the rating to go down to medium in the course of Wednesday."

The Trojan worm is spread via e-mail using the address book of Microsoft's Outlook e-mail client. It arrives in an e-mail with the subject "FW: Naked Wife." Once the attachment -- NakedWife -- is executed, the worm starts sending itself to every e-mail address in the infected user's address book and deletes dozens of important Windows system files, forcing the user to re-install Windows, Van Oers said.

Most anti-virus software vendors have updated virus definition files available that can discover and eliminate NakedWife.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joris Evers

PC World
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?