The latest worm to terrorise unsuspecting internet users, dubbed MSBlast, is quickly spreading across the internet and seriously slowing down internet connections in its hunt for vulnerable machines.

MSBlast, also known as the Lovsan worm, arrives as an email with the following visible text string: I just want to say LOVE YOU SAN! Once installed on a machine, the worm begins searching for other unprotected systems. This 'searching' can swamp networks.

Antivirus firm Network Associates said many home broadband users were reporting heavy traffic on their network connection as a result of the worm.

The worm exploits a weakness in Windows which experts have known about for over a month. By swamping a memory buffer that is used to transfer files across networks, the code forces the machine to carry out instructions carried on the back of the file.

While scanning for PCs to infect, the worm also attacks Microsoft's Windows Update website — the very place users go to download patches against such flaws.

Symantec has reportedly found the virus on 57,000 machines so far.

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Network Associates