New Windows worm spreading ‘hard and fast’ worldwide; Macintosh unaffected

“A new Internet worm that spread through Asia, Australia and Europe on Monday is expected to take hold in the United States on Tuesday as people go back to work after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The ‘Bagle’ or ‘Beagle’ worm arrives as an attachment to an e-mail with the subject line ‘Hi’ and ‘test : )’ in the body text. The worm is activated when a user clicks on the attached file,” Brian Krebs reports for The Washington Post.

“Once the attachment is opened, the worm tries to send copies of itself to all of the e-mail addresses that it finds on the victim’s computer, faking the return address with one randomly generated from those sifted from the infected PC. It also installs a program that lets attackers connect to infected machines, install malicious software or steal files,” Krebs reports. “The worm probably is the precursor to more evolved versions that could wreak havoc with small business and home Internet users, computer security experts said.”

“Carey Nachenberg, chief architect of Symantec Research Labs in Cupertino, Calif., said he expects the worm to continue its rapid spread as more Americans begin sorting through the e-mail that piled up in their in-boxes following the three-day weekend,” Krebs reports. ‘This is coming on hard and fast, and that’s usually a bad sign going into a shortened work week,’ Nachenberg said. Bagle has spread to computers in more than 100 countries, according to MessageLabs, an e-mail security company in New York City.”

Macintosh users are unaffected.

Full article here.

26 Comments

  1. This is why the company I work for has to update our virus software everyday! But hey, it’s only �20 x 17 a year for the software and at least 15 mins a day to update all the pcs as some of the users are too dumb to know how to use auto update, then the monthly critical updates… it’s fun working with windows, and so much cheaper than using macs… so I’m told!

  2. Trouble always comes in threes.

    As well as this bug there’s a couple more going round in emails that purport to be from Microsoft and saying that they contain the latest security updates. The text of the mails makes a great deal about how they are part of the company’s recently announced commitment to improving security. I bet there’s a whole bunch of innocent Windows users who get taken in by them.

  3. Hooray!! More network congestion caused by shoddy MS products being insecure. Not only does it keep me in work, but a few more people will finally have had enough of Windows, and look for an alternative.

  4. I think we Mac users are lucky that the hackers writing these worms and viruses have ignored our platform of choice. Suppose one were written for the Mac and came in as an email attachment. Once it ran, could it not obtain administrator privileges, or even root access, and wreak havoc just as much as it would on a Windows machine? If anyone is willing to answer this question, I’d appreciate as accurate an answer as possible, because I want to be able to explain this to others.

  5. beryllium, a program can’t gain root or admin access on a UNIX system unless it is given permission by root or an admin user. So the user at the console would have to actually type in an admin or root password to allow the program to install itself and execute. This isn’t a Mac thing, it’s common across all UNIX and Linux flavours (Lindows excepted).

  6. See that. Another piece of software that will run on Windows and not on Mac. I wonder if that is counted when our Windows using friends say, “Well, I have software that won’t run on a Mac.”

  7. Sure, it could happen, but there are not swiss cheese holes in Panther like there are in Win$in because Apple cared enough to do things right the first time from the ground up with OSX.

  8. beryllium,
    What Dave said. I just want to add that it is theoretically possible to have a virus but it will infect only the account owner leaving other users and the system intact. It is possible to gain priviledge escalation, but it is extremely difficult, not something a script kiddie can do. Why write a very difficult virus to do minimal damage when there is another platform that looks like a swiss cheese? For the years Mac OS X has been around, there is zero virus for it. Minority status notwithstanding (that is another debate), which one is more probable: nobody (no a single hacker on the face of the earth) has ever tried to write one or that whoever tried failed?

    I also want to add to Dave’s comment: not all users know root/admin password, so, even if they want/get duped to run it as root/admin, they can’t.

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