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08 May 2006

Fantasy football formula virus spreads via Excel spreadsheets

Experts at SophosLabs™, Sophos's global network of virus, spyware and spam analysis centers, have warned users about a new virus that infects Excel files under the camouflage of a fantasy football worksheet.

XF97/Yagnuul-A is an Excel formula virus that infects .XLS spreadsheets, dropping an infected file that helps workers create their own fantasy football league with other fans of the English Premiership. The Premiership is a football league made up of the best soccer teams in England, and has millions of followers based around the globe.

The virus drops an infected fantasy football league spreadsheet

"Fantasy football-like leagues have been set up in offices across the country, and fans often keep track of how well they are doing by using Excel spreadsheets. Every computer user needs to take great care not to fall foul of malware like the Yagnuul virus or they will find themselves paying the penalty," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "This is a virus of two halves - one part infects your existing Excel spreadsheets, while the other drops an infected fantasy league file onto your drive. You may think you are just re-using someone else's harmless spreadsheet, but behind the scenes a virus may be preparing to strike."

Fantasy football is a popular pastime in many offices, where football fans select their own team of soccer players and accumulate points based upon their real-life performance.

Sophos experts reported last week on a Trojan horse that has been spammed out, posing as a wallchart for the upcoming World Cup tournament in Germany.

Companies are recommended to protect their email with a consolidated solution to thwart the virus, spyware and spam threats and secure their desktops and servers with automatically updated anti-virus protection.

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.