21 June 2000

Hard on the heels of the so-called Love Bug virus comes another carbon-copy threat, warns America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation. As with its predecessor, the new virus is email-borne, infiltrating the address books of infected systems and replicating itself. Although not directly damaging files or hard disks, there is serious danger of overloading corporate systems.

Titled Life Stages, Funny or Jokes, the new virus may add either “Fw” to the beginning or “text” to the end of the subject line, misleading recipients to think it is actually a .TXT file. In reality it is an .SHS file.

Although nearly one month old, its virulence has caused US government departments and anti-virus software specialists to upgrade their assessment of the virus to “high-risk”. According to the government’s Computer Emergency Response Unit, thousands of computers or systems are likely to be hit.

"Some individual users have reported receiving as many as thirty copies, and some large sites have reported … as many as 120,000 copies passing through a single mail server," said CERT.

Software company Network Associates also warned: "This destructive virus has the potential to create e-mail storms leading to network performance slowdowns and has the ability to install extraneous content on users systems that can significantly deplete system memory."

News source: BBC Online Business News (UK)