We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Nyxem worm to emerge on 3 February

Beware Miss Lebanon 2006

Antivirus vendors are warning of a rapidly spreading worm that is carrying a potentially destructive set of instructions. Nyxem – also nicknamed the Kama Sutra worm – is programmed to overwrite all the files on computers it infects on 3 February, said Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure.

F-Secure researchers found the worm truncates files to 20 bytes and causes an error message when one is opened, he said.

"We are expecting to see problems in two weeks' time," Hypponen said.

The worm appears to be programmed to overwrite all files on the third day of every month, Hypponen said. So far, there's no indication where the Nyxem worm originated.

While most antivirus vendors have issued updates for their software, Nyxem is spreading quickly, and its creators have posted a counter on a website that records new infections. According to F-Secure's security blog, the counter was showing around 510,000 infections as of Sunday night.

Nyxem infections may be rising because it is taking advantage of computers that have already had their antivirus software disabled by another virus such as Bagle, Hypponen said.

The worm, which is spread through email, uses a dated technique to entice users by promising pornography, said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. Nyxem lacks the sophistication of recent Trojan Horse-style viruses that are more targeted and less prevalent in order to evade detection, Cluley said.

Nonetheless, users appear to be clicking, and the worm was accounting for about 35 percent of virus traffic as of this morning, he said.

"It's a bit of a throwback to an old trick," Cluley said.

The worm harvests email addresses and then sends itself out again. The email subject line may contain text that says 'Miss Lebanon 2006' or 'School girl fantasies gone bad', according to Sophos.


IDG UK Sites

Microsoft Band UK release date and price rumours, features and specs: Microsoft smartwatch unveiled

IDG UK Sites

Why Sony's PS4 2.0 update is every gamer's dream (well, mine at least)

IDG UK Sites

This Grolsch ad combines stop-motion & CG for majestic results

IDG UK Sites

Apple rumours and predictions for 2015: What to expect from Apple in 2015