We always knew she was a femme fatale: A virus posing as a photo of tennis star Anna Kournikova is spreading aggressively via e-mail, as security experts rush to combat it.
A virus posing as a photo of Russian tennis player Anna Kournikova spread aggressively on Monday, as major security companies rushed to update their antivirus software to detect the fast-spreading e-mail virus.
"(We) are seeing this in low numbers at the moment," British e-mail service MessageLabs said in an alert. "However, this is consistent with the early stages of other fast-spreading viruses such as Love Bug."
The virus uses the Visual Basic scripting language to infect Windows systems and then, on systems using Microsoft's Outlook e-mail program, mails itself out to the entire address book. The ability to mail itself out to a large number of Internet users classifies the virus as a worm.
The virus does not damage the systems it has infected, said Vincent Weafer, director of Symantec's AntiVirus Research Center.
"Internally, it's highly polymorphic, which means it changes its signatures to hide itself from antivirus software," said Weafer. He said SARC has only seen 20 copies of the virus but expects it to spread quickly.
At 9:45 a.m. PT, neither Symantec nor Trend Micro had patches that would allow their software to detect the virus. McAfee said the latest version of its antivirus software and definitions will detect the virus.
"We are working on detection right now," said Weafer.