Trend Micro warns rampant Swen worm yet to peak

Security vendor Trend Micro claims the mass mailing Swen worm - which has wreaked havoc across the BigPond network -- is likely to make the top 10 list of viruses for 2003, following a dramatic surge in activity across the Internet.

Trend Micro managing director Chris Poulos said while the vendor can't put a quantifiable figure on the number of e-mails infected with the Swen worm being received by its customers, the company has had reports that several of its large corporate customers have received in excess of 50,000 infected e-mails so far.

Both Poulos and newly appointed product marketing manager Clive Wainstein said the worm continues to pick up intensity, and hasn't reached its peak yet.

"We're finding there is an increase with corporations picking this virus up at their gateways," Wainstein said.

The Swen worm (also referred to as Win32.Swen.A), which was first detected by security vendors on 18 September, is disguised as a Windows update bulletin e-mail from Microsoft. The e-mail features an attachment, with either a .com, .scr,.bat,.pif or .exe file extension. Once activated, the worm copies itself to the computer user's Windows directory, and propagates by targeting e-mail addresses listed in the directory.

Poulos said that although Swen is very similar to the Sobig.F virus in that both are mass mailing worms, "Swen is more clever in social engineering."

"The worm has a very authentic Microsoft Web page, and the attachment masquerades as a security update."

In addition, the Swen worm is different to the Sobig.F worm variant in that it does not target addresses from the user's e-mail address book, but collects addresses through the computer's directory.

Overall, Poulos said there has been a massive surge in virus activity over the past one and a half to two months. Poulos added his "gut feeling" on this year compared to last year is that virus activity has roughly doubled.

The worm is currently at the centre of Telstra BigPond's ongoing e-mail service disruptions. The telco announced on Thursday that the worm had largely contributed to a 20 to 30 per cent increase in the number of e-mails received across its BigPond service, resulting in massive delays in customers receiving and sending e-mails from their BigPond accounts over the past week.

According to Telstra, almost all of its BigPond customers have been affected by the worm - a total of nearly 1.5 million users.

Join the newsletter!


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.
Nadia Cameron

Nadia Cameron

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?