E-mail worm masquerades as PayPal message

Tuesday, 18 November 2003, 8:54 AM EST

W32/Mimail-I is a new version of the Mimail worm, which first appeared in August, and is believed to be the first e-mail worm specifically designed to steal personal financial and account information, an online crime known as "phishing".

Mimail-I first appeared late last week in what antivirus experts believe was a massive e-mail "seeding", in which unsolicited commercial e-mail programs are used to distribute messages containing the virus attachment, according to Craig Schmugar, a virus research engineer at McAfee Anti-Virus Emergency Response Team (Avert), which is part of Network Associates.

Like earlier editions of Mimail, the I-variant can also spread by itself. The worm contains its own SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) e-mail engine and harvests e-mail addresses from victims' computers.

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