There are reports that a variant of the Love Bug computer virus has started spreading and virus experts say although it may not spread as fast, it is much more destructive, said bbc.online Friday.
Computers at several large companies were infected late on Thursday, Dave Perry, spokesman at anti-virus software company Trend Micro Inc. in California.
One company had all of its 5,000 computers infected, he told BBC.
The new virus arrives in an attachment to an e-mail similar to the Love Bug scourge that spread to millions of computers two weeks ago.
The bug caused up to $10bn damage
However, it is not given away by an "I LOVE YOU" subject line, added the report.
Instead, the subject line changes to a random word or phrase every time a computer is infected.
"Each time the virus spreads, it mutates itself to evade detection," Symantec Corp, another anti-virus software maker, said in a statement that BBC quoted.
The subject line of an infected e-mail starts with "FW" and includes the name of a randomly chosen attachment from a previous e-mail on an infected computer.
The e-mail will have an attachment with the same name, but ending in "vbs".
Clicking on the attachment will activate the virus. It will then destroy most of the files on the hard drive, rendering the computer useless until the operating system is reinstalled.
Only recipients running Microsoft's Outlook e-mail program for Windows are vulnerable and there is no danger if the attachment is not opened, virus experts said.
The larger size of this virus's attachments are more likely to crash e-mail servers, experts said.
BIGGER THAN LOVE BUG
Dave Perry told BBC he hoped that increased awareness among e-mail users would hold back the spread of the new virus.
"Any time a virus hits a week after another virus its potency is diminished," he said. "People tend to be a little more cautious."
The report said investigators suspect the Love Bug originated in the Philippines, where several people have been questioned.
What You Can Do To Prevent Infection
According to ZDnet, the following steps should be taken to prevent infection:
Backup your system onto tape or disk media
Users of Windows 95 and 98 should turn off the Windows Scripting Host. Here's how:
Click on Start (the button on lower left of your Windows desktop)
Click on Settings
Chose Control Panel
Click on Add/Remove
Chose the Windows Setup tab
Click on Accessories to obtain details
Uncheck Windows Scripting Host if it is checked
Click on OK to save any changes
Download the new Microsoft Outlook Security Patch when it becomes available.
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