New ‘Swen worm’ masquerades as Windows Security Update; Macintosh unaffected

“A new worm that tries to take advantage of Windows users anxious to get their hands on security updates began making the rounds on Thursday, several antivirus firms confirmed,” Gregg Keizer reports for TechWeb News. “The worm, which goes by a variety of names, including Swen, W32/Swen@MM, Gibe, and W32/Gibe-F, can pose as an E-mail from Microsoft bearing a bogus security update as a file attachment.”

“It spreads in several ways, including the traditional mass-mailing method of stealing addresses from Outlook address books on compromised machines, but also propagates over Internet Relay Chat and peer-to-peer networks such as Kazaa. Successful infections attempt to steal account information, including usernames and passwords,” Keizer reports. “The worm also exploits a 2-year-old vulnerability in Windows–for which a fix is available from Microsoft–that allows it to auto-execute on unpatched PCs. In those situations, the receiving system is infected even if its user doesn’t open the attached file.” Full article here.

Macintosh computers are unaffected. Windows-only users interested in adding a Mac OS X machine to their computing arsenal can get more information here. Apple Retail Store locations can be found here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
New York Times: Mac OS X ‘much more secure than Windows XP’ – September 18, 2003
Wall Street Journal’s Mossberg on making the switch from Windows to Mac – September 18, 2003
ZDNet’s Coursey: Microsoft should start new OS from scratch to be more like Mac OS X – July 29, 2003
ZDNet asks: will Windows ever be as stable as the Mac? – April 21, 2003


  1. Keep ’em coming script kiddies. If this is what it takes to open the sheeps’ eyes, so be it. The world would be better off with Macintosh than Windows. And global productivity would skyrocket along with the corresponding decrease in frustration and anger. Gates will go down in history as the world’s most successful charlatan.

  2. I don’t think the world would be a better place with Mac instead of Windows. Competition is good. I’d like to see Windows and Linux each maintain a firm 10-15% market share of the desktop. Just so long as it’s not me!

  3. No.

    Mac OSX – 33%
    Lixux – 33%
    ABM OS – 33%

    Any M$ Windows ‘OS’- 0%

    Keep 3 WinPCs for each Bill, Bomber, and the Smithsonian to each have one (1) for a keepsake.

    FWIW, competition is good. But, M$ doesn’t compete, yet they ALWAYS win.

    It’s not that they ALWAYS win that upsets, but look at what they win with, fer’crissakes – their products are junk.

    Their ‘OS’ is a milk product from Europe.

    They lock their users (M$ doesn’t view YOU as a customer) into the most backasswards ‘standards’.

    They screw YOU with endless, meaningless, costly ‘upgrades’. And people love it.

    Yet, anyone that is sceptical of M$ and uses any other OS is named a zealot ‘KoolAid’ guzzler.

  4. Yeah, this is no big deal for us — except for the giant reeking inconvenience of having to check my email every hour to get the dozens of stupid 104k attachments trashed so my IMAP mailbox doesn’t get full and thereby temporarily disable my ability to receive mail.

    !@#$%-ing Microsoft!

  5. Agreed, Nagromme! But I’d settle for 30-40% market share maximum for our dear Mac platform. Clearly enough for software developers to take seriously, enough incomes for Apple to keep up (the already excelent) R&D but hopefully not enough to draw the attention of the bad boys. And when in dreamland, why not 30% mac, 30% other Linux/Un*x and 40% Wincrap?

  6. “The worm also exploits a 2-year-old vulnerability in Windows–for which a fix is available from Microsoft–that allows it to auto-execute on unpatched PCs. In those situations, the receiving system is infected even if its user doesn’t open the attached file.”

    Apparently Micros**t has a weird understanding of “fixing” and “patching” a security flaw.

    An unpatched PC have the worm exploiting the flaw even if the attachment is NOT opened. A patched PC requires the user to open the attachment for the worm to exploit the flaw. And many users will open the attachment anyway.

    Isn’t that just laughable?

  7. I used to just laugh because I was “unaffected”. But now instead of a couple a week, I’m getting 50 e-mails a day from this thing. That affects me. Now I’m torqued.

  8. Well, fortunately the busy bees at MSFT are actively working on the next version of Windows, and that one will be secure! I’ve heard it may be released as early as 2007 or ’08. And then everyone will update to the new OS and no more viruses! And then they’ll show you what a real OS is good for!

  9. LOL Toll. You are something!

    I had the laugh of the day ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />))))))))))

    oh wait… by then all desktops will be 64bit. Rats, then they will have to rewrite it again to ship on 2012.

  10. pc clean: simple BS and FUD.

    One thing is receiving infected email (OF COURSE, with all PCs infected out there what would you expect???)

    Another is being infected. Let me explain to you. Receiving the email is NOT the infection process. The infection is when the worm installs itself into your machine, starts reading your address book, replicates itself and spread.

    Worms and virii are not a weird entity. They are little pieces of code. IF you understand I cannot install as is a Windows program on my Mac you should not be so silly to believe ANY other software written for Windows could run as is on a Mac. A virus and a worm is nothing more than that: a piece of software code.

    When PC users brag about having more software titles to run on their Pee-Cee they should ALSO understand – not that difficult – that virii ARE software and are part of that larger selection of software that could run on a Pee-Cee

    Got it now, FINALLY??????

    BTW, since OS X is now a BSD Unix flavor the situtation is reversed. More software can run on a Mac, just NOT WINDOWS VIRII>

  11. Put in anotehr way:

    Infected PC are a nuisance because with all the emails they send around the clog and slow down and make server crashed under the heavy load. THEN every computer in the world is AFFECTED even if not INFECTED.

    Warn me if stiil you do not GRASP THAT!

  12. One more little thought to weigh in your mind, pc clean:

    If you’d destroy all those infected Pee-Cee no one would receive ANY of those emails. Those virii and worm NEED a Wintel platform to breed and Micros**t product as Outlook to thrive.

    See? remove the cause of the problem and everyone will benefit from it:
    Every f**king user of ANY OS in the world. Windows IS the problem – although Micros**t keep saying it is the dumb users – and they mean YOU.

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