Consumer and corporate Windows users had the chance to reminisce about the good old days of computer malware as the latest worm, dubbed Kama Sutra, made its expected appearance on Feb. 3.
The worm, which at least one computer security expert believes is the creation of a teenager bent on creating havoc on the Internet, was discovered two weeks ago, giving security firms and computer users plenty of time to prepare.
As a result of that preparation — and because the worm was relatively benign to begin with — there are few, if any, reports of serious damage.
Remember the ‘I Love You’ Virus?
These days, most malware is designed to steal financial information from users. By comparison, the Kama Sutra worm is mild.
“Sure, you could lose your data if your computer gets infected, but if your data is backed up that shouldn’t be a problem,” Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos, told TechNewsWorld. It is a lot like the “I Love You Virus” of the early 2000s.
“Compare what those viruses did to what happens today: If a worm steals your bank information or hacks into your accounts, that is it. You have been robbed,” Cluley said.
The Kama Sutra worm, which spreads by e-mail, repeats a trick employed in the early days of Internet viruses by using a sexy name, or the promise of sexy photographs, to entice the recipient to open the e-mail.
Subject lines include: “School Girl Fantasies Gone Bad” and “Crazy Illegal Sex.” The worm is also known as Black Worm and Mywife.
When the payload is activated on Feb. 3, the worm becomes capable of destroying Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files.
Grand Total of Zero
Cluley has not seen any reports of data lost thus far. “It is a grand total of zero for the entire world,” he said.
He attributes this cheery state of affairs to the high attention the worm received over the last two weeks, which gave users ample time to prepare. It is still spreading, however, and thousands of computers reportedly have been infected.
In Milan, Italy, for instance, thousands of municipal employees did not have to go to work because their computers had been infected, he said. “They took the day off to deal with the clean up on Monday.”
The absence of any big problems following all the hubbub over the worm’s impending arrival may result in an unwelcome backlash, Cluley said.
“The media reported the warnings over and over again. Everybody got ready for the worst, and then little happened,” he noted. The next time computer users may not be so vigilant about updating their security software, Cluley fears.