Antivirus firms warned on Monday of a new mass-mailing computer virus that had gained a foothold in a large number of PCs by masquerading itself as an e-mail error.
The virus, dubbed MyDoom, arrives in an in-box with one of several different random subject lines, such as "Mail Delivery System," "Test," or "Mail Transaction Failed." The body of the e-mail contains an executable file and a statement such as: "The message contains Unicode characters and has been sent as a binary attachment."
Antivirus firms were scrambling Monday afternoon to learn more about the virus, which started spreading at about 1 p.m. PST.
"A lot of the information is encrypted so we have to decrypt it," said Sharon Ruckman, senior director for antivirus software maker Symantec's security response center. Symantec has had about 40 reports of the virus in the first hour, a high rate of submission, Ruckman said.
Antivirus firms are still analyzing the virus. Variations in the body text include, "The message cannot be represented in 7-bit ASCII encoding and has been sent as a binary attachment."
The virus also seems to install another program on the victim's computer, but until the antivirus firms decrypt the program's code, the purpose of the file is unknown.
Mail systems that remove executable files from e-mails can stop the program from spreading.
More details to follow. CNet News