Beware the fake security patch

Friday, 19 September 2003, 2:22 PM EST

A new Internet worm masquerading as a security patch sent by Microsoft is spreading fast around the world.

The worm, known as I-Worm.Swen, W32/Swen.A@mm, W32/Gibe@MM.e or Gibe.F, affects Windows 95, Windows NT and all newer versions. It was first reported yesterday and has already spread to at least 66 countries with tens of thousands of interceptions within the first 24 hours noted on public tracking sites, says Ken Dunham, malicious code intelligence manager at US-based security intelligence firm Idefense.

Swen arrives as an .EXE attachment on an e-mail pretending to contain a patch for holes in Internet Explorer, Outlook and Outlook Express. It then mails itself to addresses located on the victim's computer. When it infects a computer, it alerts a Web site that appears to be counting the infections, say anti-virus companies. The number of the counter was reportedly near 1.5 million by this morning.

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