The email virus responsible for connecting recipients to pornographic websites was yesterday spreading faster than the Love Bug virus, which affected thousands of users earlier this year.

'Homepage', as the virus is known, has attacked hundreds of thousands of computers across the world, threatening to bring email systems to a complete stop. It is believed to be a variant of the Kournikova virus that was spread earlier this year.

The bug, which first began its attacks on Monday, had reached 25 countries by yesterday morning. Recipients opened the fatal attachment to read the message, "You've got to see this page! It's really cool!"

The virus' spread is so fast because, once the user clicks to connect to the porn website, the virus mails itself to everyone in their email address book.

"We have made our staff aware of this virus, in the hope that they will not open it should they receive it," said a spokesperson at Microsoft. "These sorts of viruses are lethal for companies and in some cases can destroy their systems completely."

Email surveillance company MessageLabs said people needed to be aware of the virus, but added that it was inconvenient rather than fatal.