Five new Windows Bagle virus variants break nasty new ground; Macintosh unaffected

“Just looking at your e-mail can now deliver you the nastiest of new viruses. Five new variants of a malicious e-mail virus released overnight Thursday on the Internet break new ground in that recipients are no longer required to open attachments to infect their computers,” Jeff Lee reports for CanWest News Service.

“The new variants of the Bagle virus — which was first discovered in January — exploit known flaws in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Outlook and Media Player programs to run a small hyper text language message that downloads the virus directly into the target computer,” Lee reports. “Although Microsoft issued a patch last October to fix the flaw, it may still not be enough to prevent new variants of the Bagle virus from infecting users’ computers, according to a Korean antivirus company…the virus is still triggered if users try to save the message on computers that have already been patched with the Microsoft fix.”

Lee reports, “…the new variants carry a web-based URL or hyper text message in the body of the e-mail that triggers the computer to secretly download a copy of the worm from already infected computers. It also turns off some security and anti-virus programs, and even disables firewalls, according to Chris Belthoff, senior security analyst with Sophos, an antivirus and anti-spam company with offices in Vancouver.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: For information on smoothly making the switch from Windows to Mac OS X (you can thank us later, we know you will, switchers always do) please click here.

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BusinessWeek’s Haddad gets it wrong; thinks low market share spares Macs from viruses – August 28, 2003
Shattering the Mac OS X ‘security through obscurity’ myth – August 28, 2003
Fortune columnist: ‘get a Mac’ to thwart viruses; right answer for the wrong reasons – September 02, 2003
New York Times: Mac OS X ‘much more secure than Windows XP’ – September 18, 2003
Columnist tries the ‘security through obscurity’ myth to defend Windows vs. Macs on virus front – October 1, 2003
Gates: Windows ‘by far the most secure’ system; tries to use ‘Mac OS X secure through obscurity’ myth – January 27, 2004
Mac OS X has no viruses; what’s wrong with Windows? – February 11, 2004


  1. You know, its a good sign, when a PC tech (me), comes to MDN to get their virus warnings so that he (thats me, the pc tech) can warn his bleeting sheep customers (thats the ignoramus maximus customerus) to update their virus scanners.

  2. My PC friends are coming over, their computers are down, AOL is down, their ISP’s are down, I had three thick waiting to use my spare eMac this morning.

    This is a riot, they can’t open their emails lest they get infected, to many variations of the virus because the code is published, every script kiddie is jumping on the bandwagon.

    I wonder how long it will be before this HTML based virus jumps over to web sites?


    Now their hit counters can say “xxxxx computers infected”

    Mac users who care solving disease with a simple application for Stanford University.

  3. Heh- I see that Windows users would also benefit from Mac OS X’s spellcheck service, which would have automatically noted the difference between “bleating” and “bleeting.”

  4. Strangely enough, I’m beginning to think that this is what IT looks forward to. If they can deal effectively with the threat, then they can go to management and say “see how important we are – we managed to head off this virus threat”. It’s now a point of pride like the home mechanic who would rather spend thousands of dollars fixing up his old beater of a vehicle rather than buy a new one. (No offense to home mechanics – it’s just not something I am interested in)

    For all the rhetoric that PC’s are simply commodity appliances, the truth appears to be far from it. If I had a refrigerator that required as much attention as a PC, and needed to be replaced every 2 to 3 years, I think I’d have to take up burying my food in the back yard.

  5. [Off Topic]
    Where would be a good place to find a developer to create a custom customer relation and job tracking database for the company I work for? I have been asked by my boss to investigate the costs and timing as he wants to create a modern web based database for his business that can be accessed by our designers and salespeople in the field.
    We are, unfortunately, a windows based company, but i prefer to use someone with both mac and windows experience as i think they are better programmers, as well as i want to try and see if i can slowly move us to macs.
    [/Off Topic]

  6. Rasmus – GRC International developed some quality custom 4D relational database code for the organization for which I work. It started out as Mac only (!), but eventually the server portion was migrated to Win2K. However, clients were provided for both Mac and Windows.

    GRCI was acquired by AT&T a few years ago.

  7. Jimbo-

    “Strangely enough”?

    Nothing strange about that at all. I’ve read articles that corroborate exactly what you’re saying. The IT dept. makes up all kinds of reasons why Macintosh wouldn’t be “right” for their business and management buys it, hook, line and sinker, rarely gathering any information beyond what tripe the IT guys offer. It happens all the time everywhere. The only businesses that avoid this sort of vicious circle are the ones that evaluate what the tech guys say with their BS detectors set on ‘high’. That and the assumption that the Mac is “only” a creative tool unsuited to the rigors of the business world. So they spend all kinds of money on Peecee techs and anti-virus software that could go to a more secure network and desktop hardware if only they’d open their eyes and minds…

  8. So that’s why my ISP was down. I was wondering what had happened. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” /> I better warn my PC-using friends. I love rubbing it in. 😀

  9. For my PC’s, I use thunderbird mail client. It’s free, it’s small, it’s got superior junk controls, and it’s fast and secure.

    Headline should have read : Five new Windows Bagle virus variants break nasty new ground; Macintosh, Linux, Netscape, Thunderbird, Opera unnafected.

  10. McBain – are you sure he meant “bleating” sheep when he typed “bleeting,” and not “bleeding” sheep? ‘Cos these Bagle critters sound like they’re doing some butchering. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  11. Jimbo and Cartman, dead on. I posted yesterday (I think) that I was asked to look at a tech grant for the nonprofit I work for. When I asked if they would issue the grant for Macs, I was told that they wouldn’t because the volunteer consultants who set it up don’t think that Macs play nice with other systems. I, of course, guess that the “volunteeers” are IT people who support M$ products. I’ve made it very clear to my exec. director that if we moved to Mac we could save ourselves a ton of money in IT costs. I think he’s buying it, but we have to raise the money to make a move like that.

  12. PC users are in an abusive relationship. They’re forced to depend upon the abuser.

    Some people will get up the courage to end the cycle of violence, whereas some people will continue to suffer until they die.

    Been there, done that in the non-virtual world. (Not the dying part, though)

    PC users with Windows viruses, well, lots of them just don’t know they have an alternative, and even when they find out, they get beaten to a pulp just for thinking about it.

    Gotta feel sorry for them.

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