“A fast-spreading e-mail worm is raising alarms because its sole purpose is to obliterate the everyday working documents widely used by consumers, students and businesses. The Kama Sutra worm — also referred to as Nyxem.E and Grew.A — is unnerving because, unlike other e-mail worms, it appears to be detached from any profit motive. It is designed to destroy all Microsoft Word, Excel, Access and PowerPoint documents and Adobe Acrobat and Photoshop files on all hard drives connected to an infected PC,” Byron Acohido and Jon Swartz report for USA Today. “The worm appears in e-mail in-boxes with subject lines such as ‘hot movie,’ ‘A Great Video’ or ‘Crazy illegal Sex!’ enticing the recipient to click on an attachment. One variation makes reference to the ancient Sanskrit book on sexual positions.”
“By clicking on the attachment, the victim launches a program that disables anti-virus protection. The infected PC then begins to send copies of similarly tainted e-mail to every e-mail address on the victim’s hard drive,” Acohido and Swartz report. “But while most e-mail worms also plant a back door to give an intruder control of the PC, or a program to steal log-ons and passwords, this worm’s sole purpose is destruction. It implants a program to erase common work files on the third day of the month, hitting even external data-storage devices connected to the infected PC. IDefense, a VeriSign company, confirmed the deletion program works. More than 500,000 PCs are believed to have been infected since it first appeared on Jan. 16. That’s a modest infection rate, but victims face grim consequences. On Friday — Feb. 3 — any infected machines will lose all Microsoft documents and Adobe files.”
Full article here.
Presumably because they can’t report correctly or they think everyone uses Windows or perhaps because USA Today derives much more advertising revenue from Windows-related companies such as HP, Dell, Microsoft, etc. than from Apple Mac-related entities, Acohido and Swartz neglect to mention how Mac users are affected by this nasty worm. Amazingly the duo can’t muster one single mention between them for their readers that 20+ million Mac OS X users are unaffected. Who said two heads are better than one? All it would’ve taken was a single simple sentence: “Macs are unaffected.” Instead, nothing; although it’s certainly newsworthy and would be news to many of their readers that Mac users are immune to this destructive worm. They don’t even state it’s a Windows problem! This article (and others like it) protects Microsoft and hurts Apple by omitting easily reportable facts.
So, while we understand the situation, let’s all feign ignorance, so that the “reporters” and USA Today will see the confusion they have caused. Perhaps a few email questions will help USA Today to properly report the basics in the future, so that tomorrow’s fish-wrap readers will be able to see for themselves this simple fact:
Macintosh. Because life’s too short.
Here’s a simple email example:
Dear USA Today,
I read your article “E-mail worm bent only on destruction” today with great alarm. I have many Adobe and Microsoft files on my PC and I certainly do not want them all to be deleted on February 3rd. I am very worried about possible infection. Your article didn’t mention which kind of computers are at risk. Can you please tell me if my Apple Macintosh is affected by this destructive worm?
Thank you very much,
Mr. or Mrs. Fish Wrap Reader
Online form for USA Today Letter to the Editor
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