Microsoft support line barely registers Kama Sutra

Microsoft's virus response hotline has had few calls about the Kama Sutra worm.

Microsoft's computer virus support line has been underwhelmed by the Kama Sutra worm.

The widely reported malware was set to overwrite infected users files on Friday, but according to most observers, it did little damage.

This was certainly the case with Microsoft's toll-free virus support hotline (1-866-PCSAFTETY in the U.S. and Canada) where the worm's arrival had little effect, according to Stephen Toulouse, security program manager with Microsoft's security response center.

"It's a little early to fully understand the impact, but right now we and the antivirus partners are not seeing any widespread impact from this," he said Friday.

Though Toulouse was unable to say how many calls the Microsoft hotline had received, but he believed it was minimal. "I'm sure if I went back there might be one or two cases," he said.

Earlier in the week, security experts had predicted that there would be little widespread disruption from the worm.

"There's been way more attention given it in the media than it deserves," said Russ Cooper, a senior information security analyst at Cybertrust in Virginia. The dramatic nature of this worm's behavior, with its file-destroying instructions, and inflated reports of infections have helped fuel media interest, he said in a Tuesday interview.

Also known as Win32/Mywife.E@mm, Nyxem, Blackdoom, W32.Blackmal.E@mm and Tearec, the worm needs a fair bit of help to infect a user's machine. Kama Sutra is blocked by virtually all antivirus protection software, and even those without security software must somehow be tricked into clicking on a PIF (Program Information File) attached to an e-mail in order to execute the program.

The fact that Microsoft has had so few calls on the issue shows that customers are getting more savvy about computer security, and are increasingly following Microsoft's guidance to install antivirus software and be careful about clicking attachments, Toulouse said. "It shows us that that guidance is starting to take hold."

Was Kama Sutra a non-event? Toulouse declined to answer that question. "It's a little early," he said Friday afternoon from Redmond, Washington. "I don't want to jinx it."

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Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
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