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02 Oct 2002

Are your printers possessed by the Bugbear?

The Bugbear-A worm prints out pages of junk.

Researchers at Sophos, a world leader in corporate anti-virus protection, have revealed that a bug in the code of the W32/Bugbear-A worm may unwittingly alert users to its presence.

W32/Bugbear-A not only spreads via email attachment, but also attempts to copy itself around your network.

The worm tries to copy itself to all types of shared network resources, including printers. Printers cannot become infected, but they will attempt to print out the raw binary data of W32/Bugbear-A's executable code. This usually results in many wasted pages of paper.

"You may be surprised to find your printer churning out reams of gobbledegook and gibberish," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "However, if it were not for this bug in the worm's code it's possible some computer users would not have realised until much later that something strange was occurring on their network. Clearly many viruses are not the work of careful programmers keen to avoid bugs."

Sophos released protection against the W32/Bugbear-A worm on Monday 30 September, 15:42 GMT. Customers who were using Sophos MailMonitor for SMTP's threat reduction technology were capable of protecting against W32/Bugbear-A in advance of this time.

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