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Another World Cup worm on the loose

He shoots, he scores

Football fans should be aware of a worm being circulated by email with the German-language message "WM-Tickets" or "Weltmeisterschaft", security vendor Sophos warned yesterday.

The email contains an attachment that, when opened, activates the W32/Zasran-A worm. The worm is programmed to send itself to addresses stored in Microsoft's Outlook address book and manipulate security settings to give hackers access to other personal information stored in users' PCs. Additional information is available here.

The Zasran-A worm is the second World Cup-related virus detected in May, with the games scheduled to kick off on 9 June.

On 4 May, the Baden-Württemberg State Bureau of Criminal Investigation (LKA) warned of an email with a link to a self-extracting Excel file that claims to contain the game plan for the soccer tournament. The German-language email contains the message "Fussball Weltmeisterschaft 2006 in Deutschland" and the link googlebook.exe.

When clicked, the link installs a Trojan on users' PCs. The Trojan appears to have originated from a server in the US, according to LKA officials.

Sophos urges users to be extra vigilant against virus threats as excitement grows over the World Cup games.

Seemingly harmless World Cup screensavers, spreadsheets and electronic wall charts are ideal vehicles to spread viruses and worms, according to the company.

The World Cup has prompted viruses in the past, and will probably do so in the future.

Ahead of the World Cup games in France in 1998, the WM97/ZMK-J virus asked PC users to gamble on who the winner could be, and if the user didn't choose the right team, it triggered a warhead that was capable of erasing all data on the hard drive, according to Sophos.

Last year, the world's football governing body, Fifa, warned fans and others that its name was being abused in a global phishing scam.

Several lottery companies had sent unsolicited, official-looking email around the globe, announcing that recipients had won a lottery and requesting personal data, including bank account information, for them to claim the prize money. The lotteries claimed to be organised on behalf of, or in association with, Fifa as well as the German organisers of the World Cup and their South African counterparts for the 2010 games.


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