New worm steals user information

A new Internet worm that steals information from users' computers and attempts to shut down two Web sites is spreading, antivirus vendors warned Friday.

The worm, dubbed Mimail.C, is a variant of the W32.Mimail worm that surfaced in August. Antivirus software vendors including Symantec Corp., F-Secure Corp. and Network Associates Inc. rate the worm a "medium" level threat, indicating that it is infecting computers and spreading.

Mimail.C was discovered Friday, the vendors said in bulletins on their Web sites. It arrives as an e-mail with "our private photos" in the subject line and an attached ZIP archive file called "photos.zip." The sender's address is faked to be "james" at the receiver's domain and the body of the message promises revealing photos of a girl at a beach, the antivirus vendors said.

The worm with its attachment was mass-mailed, which most likely started its propagation, according to an alert from Network Associates.

Infection starts when the recipient unpacks the "PHOTOS.JPG.EXE" file from the attachment and runs it. The worm will harvest e-mail addresses from the user's PC to mail itself to. It will also send information captured from applications the user has open to certain e-mail addresses programmed into the malicious code, the antivirus companies said.

The worm will also attempt to launch a denial of service (DoS) attack on Web sites at darkprofits.com and darkprofits.net, the vendors said. Both sites were unreachable Friday afternoon.

All of the main antivirus vendors said they have updated their software to protect customers against the newly discovered worm.

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