Why the Klez worm just won't go away

Wednesday, 24 April 2002, 12:01 PM EST

Soon after a virus or worm wreaks havoc across the globe, it's often followed by copycat variants. For example, within days of the original ILOVEYOU virus infection that took place two years ago, some 40 ILOVEYOU variants circulated on the Internet, each with its own distinctive quirk.

Why is this? Because for every virus that is successful (i.e., can spread itself and do damage on remote computers), there are hundreds of viruses that never see the light of day. So when a virus manages to unleash itself on the world, other virus writers try to ride that success and personalize the digital miscreant with their own messages. Luckily, most antivirus programs can stop these copycats before they hit your computer.

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