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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joris Evers

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?