Sophos, a world leader in protecting businesses against viruses
and spam, has revealed that new variants of the Mimail worm launch
an attack against anti-spam websites.
The W32/Mimail-E and W32/Mimail-H worms spread
via email and - if launched by an unsuspecting user - can force
unwitting computers to launch a denial of service (DOS) attack
against websites run by organisations who fight spam. Websites
attacked by the viruses, include those operated by SpamCop, SPEWS
and The Spamhaus Project.
"These variants of the Mimail worm are attempting to knock these
anti-spam resources off the internet - it's a clear attack on
everyone who is trying to use internet email for legitimate
purposes," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for
Sophos. "Are the people who fill everyone's email inboxes with spam
also behind these viruses? It's hard to know for certain. But it's
clear that these worms are doing nothing to help reduce the problem
of unsolicited email."
The worms arrive in the form of an email inviting the recipient
to a date or meeting that evening:
Will meet tonight as we agreed, because on Wednesday I don't
think I'll make it, so don't be late. And yes, by the way here is
the file you asked for. It's all written there. See you.
Sophos has been capable of detecting the W32/Mimail-E worm since
Sunday 2 November 2003. W32/Mimail-H has been protected against
since Monday 3 November 2003. Other variants of the Mimail worm
which are spreading widely on the internet pose as "private photos"
taken at the beach. These variants target a number of different
websites with denial of service attacks.