Close encounters of the viral kind - Sundor worm spreads alien message

July 19, 2005 Sophos Press Release

The image displayed by WM97/Sundor-A
The Sundor-A worm displays an alien greeting.

Experts at SophosLabs™, Sophos's global network of virus and spam analysis centers, have advised users not to panic about a new worm which displays a message claiming to come from an extraterrestrial alien.

The WM97/Sundor-A worm displays a picture of an alien with the following message:

I'm the alien.
Have a happy week.
I liked your computer.

The worm also deletes programs and documents from the infected computer's hard drive, hides desktop icons, and disables some security software potentially opening the computer to infection by other worms, viruses and spyware.

"The good news is that you're more likely to be abducted by an alien than be infected by this virus," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "The Sundor-A worm has so far been remarkably unsuccessful at spreading its message to the inhabitants of planet Earth. Nevertheless, internet users should be reminded that it's important to keep their anti-virus protection up-to-date and always think twice before running unknown files on their computers."

Sophos users were automatically protected against the Sundor-A worm on Thursday 14 July.

"As we see more and more viruses, trojans and spyware being written with the intention of stealing from the user it is becoming more unusual to encounter malware which announces its presence to the user," continued Cluley. "The message displayed by the Sundor worm effectively limits its chances for successfully spreading. Although it is possible that some users may believe that it is a joke program sent from a friend rather than something deliberately malicious."

Sophos recommends companies protect their email gateways with a consolidated solution to defend against viruses and spam. Businesses should also secure their desktop and servers with automatically updated protection.