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15 Apr 2004

Netsky-V worm slithers without email attachment, Sophos reports

Netsky. Image copyright (c) Sophos.
The Netsky worms are named after the Skynet corporation from the movie The Terminator.

No need to double-click to be infected by Netsky-V

Sophos researchers have warned customers to ensure their computers are properly patched against known Microsoft security vulnerabilities as the W32/Netsky-V worm spreads without using email attachments.

Whereas other widespread versions of the Netsky worm have infected users by tempting them to double-click on an email attachment, W32/Netsky-V exploits security loopholes in Microsoft's software that mean users can be hit just by reading an email. Emails containing the exploit attempt to download a copy of the worm from another user's computer.

"Home users are especially vulnerable to this kind of attack as their computers are often not properly protected with a personal firewall or the latest anti-virus updates," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Home users should consider checking out Microsoft's security update website, which can scan your home PC for security vulnerabilities and suggest which critical patches need to be installed."

Sophos recommends that customers monitor announcements from operating system, application and web server software vendors for details of new vulnerabilities found in their code. Many viruses have exploited loopholes in commonly used web browsers and email software to increase their chances of spreading effectively.

Loopholes are found in products on a weekly basis, some significant, some trivial.

"IT managers should keep abreast of these loopholes and apply patches where appropriate before new viruses come along to exploit them," continued Cluley.

Every IT manager responsible for security at a business should consider subscribing to vulnerability mailing lists such as that operated by Microsoft at www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/notify.mspx. Other vendors offer similar services.

About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing complete security solutions that are simple to deploy, manage, and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.