Sophos, a world leader in corporate anti-virus protection, issued an advisory about a mass-mailing computer worm that calls for a vote on whether America should go to war.
The W32/Vote-A worm spreads itself with the subject line "Peace BeTweeN AmeriCa And IsLaM !" and has an attached file called WTC.exe
The message body of the email reads "Hi iS iT waR Against AmeriCa Or IsLaM !? Let's Vote To Live in Peace!"
Users who run the attached program, which has clearly been named to reflect the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, are in danger of having all the data on their hard drive wiped and passwords stolen.
"Despite calls from alarmed customers, we do not believe this worm will become particularly widespread, because it bears all the hallmarks of an unwanted, unauthorised email," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos Anti-Virus. "Causing inconvenience to computer users is no way to raise political awareness."
Sophos reports that this not the first virus that has been inspired by political events. Earlier this year the Mawanella worm highlighted the friction between Muslims and Buddhists in Sri Lanka. Other viruses have called for people to vote in a particular direction in referendums, or displayed offensive messages about Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and former South African leader P W Botha.
Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.