Wed, Jul 28, 2004 - Page 1 News List

MyDoom returns to torment cyberspace

AFP , WASHINGTON

A new version of the MyDoom computer worm was spreading on Monday and slowing the performance of Google and other Internet search engines, company and security officials said.

The SANS Internet Storm Center said the mass-mailing worm was tapping into search engines in an effort to find more e-mail addresses to spread further.

"The latest version of MyDoom, which started arriving in people's mailboxes in force [yesterday], uses search engines to find more recipients for its message," said Johannes Ullrich from SANS, a privately funded security center.

"Once the virus is started, it searches the users' files for domain names. Once it spots a domain name ... it will search various search engines for valid e-mail addresses within these domains. These search engines include Lycos, Google, Altavista, Yahoo and possibly others."

The worm, like many other viruses, can install a "backdoor" program that may allow hackers to take control of an infected computer to send spam e-mail or to bombard Web sites with "denial of service" attacks.

The original virus infected more than 1 million computers worldwide at its peak in late January and highlighted the vulnerability of the Internet to infections that allow affected computers to be controlled for hacker attacks.

Google spokesman David Krane acknowledged that the search giant's Web site "experienced slowness for a short period of time early today because of the MyDoom virus, which flooded major search engines with automated searches."

Krane noted that "a small percentage of our users and networks that have the MyDoom virus have been affected for a longer period of time. At no point was the Google Web site significantly impaired, and service for all users and networks is expected to be restored shortly."

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