Kama Sutra worm programmed to overwrite data files on Feb. 3

Antivirus vendors warn that the Nyxem worm is spreading fast, and will erase files on infected machines on Feb. 3.

Antivirus vendors are still warning of a rapidly-spreading worm that is carrying a potentially destructive set of instructions. The Nyxem worm -- also nicknamed the Kama Sutra worm -- is programmed to overwrite all of the files on computers it infects on Feb. 3, said Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure.

F-Secure researchers found the worm truncates files to 20 bytes and causes an error message when one is opened, he said.

"We are expecting to see problems in two weeks' time," Hypponen said.

The worm appears to be programmed to overwrite all files on the third day of every month, Hypponen said. So far, there's no indication where Nyxem originated.

While most antivirus vendors have issued updates for their software, Nyxem is spreading quickly, and its creators have posted a counter on a Web site that records new infections. According to F-Secure's security blog, the counter was showing around 510,000 infections as of Sunday night.

Nyxem infections may be rising because it is taking advantage of computers that have already had their antivirus software disabled by some other virus such as Bagle, Hypponen said.

The worm, which is spread through e-mail, uses a dated technique to entice users by promising pornography, said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant, at Sophos. Nyxem lacks the sophistication of recent Trojan horse-style viruses that are more targeted and less prevalent in order to evade detection, Cluley said.

Nonetheless, users appear to still be clicking, and the worm was accounting for about 35 percent of virus traffic as of Monday morning, he said.

"It's a bit of a throwback to an old trick," Cluley said.

The worm harvests e-mail addresses and then sends itself out again. The e-mail subject line may contain text that says "Miss Lebanon 2006" or "School girl fantasies gone bad," according to Sophos.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

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.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?