"Mydoom" Virus Spreads

Security experts are warning of a serious new computer virus, known as Mydoom or Novarg (follow the links to the left for information and downloadable disinfection tools). It first surfaced Monday and is spreading rapidly. This kind of virus is called a worm, which means it's designed to make copies of itself and propagate across the net as an email attachment.

"It still shocks me," said David Johns of Savannah's Boba Internet Cafe. "For years now, people have been opening up attachments, and the viruses have been spreading through corporations and people's personal computers. And it surprises me with all the news coverage, newspaper and television coverage, that people are still opening attachments."

Experts are saying this one's particularly dangerous since it's well designed to look harmless to experienced email users. It's been so effective, in fact, that cybersecurity watchdog Symantec is calling it a category four threat, its second-highest warning label. That's something like the internet's equivalent of  the Department of Homeland Security raising the terror alert to orange.

Experts say, in addition to continuing to spread the worm, infected machines could be compromised, allowing hackers to gain control and steal vital information. "That's pretty scary," said Johns, "because there are a lot people out there now that are still a little wary of use their credit card and putting personal information on the internet. I personally do it and feel pretty safe about it."

In addition to keeping your virus protection software up to date, the best advice for dealing with even the most tempting attachments you didn't expect: don't take the bait. Delete unsolicited email attachments without opening them, and check online for the latest threats.

Reported by: Charles Gray, cgray@wtoc.com