Researchers at Sophos have warned computer users to be on their guard against a variant of the Bagle worm which poses as an email from a young woman looking for love.
The W32/Bagle-W worm spreads via email using a variety of different subject lines including: "I just need a friend", "Let's talk, my friend!" and "I'm bored with this life".
The message inside the email is randomly chosen from a list contained inside the worm, but can include such enticements for the unsuspecting recipient to explore further as:
"I am a student. I'm studying international relationships. I would like to find an interesting and active man for serious relations. Sitting at home it is not for me. I like to go out to the theater, cinema, and nightclubs."
"I am kind, fair, careful, gentle also want to create family. I love animal (cats, dogs), the literature, theatre, cinema, music, walks in park."
To complete the deception, the worm can attach one or three graphic files claiming to be from the young woman looking for love as well as the malicious executable attachment.
The Bagle-W worm can choose one of three photographs of a woman to include in the email. Sophos has obscured the identity of the person in the photograph.
"Users need to think with their heads rather than their heart before launching any email attachment," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "The lure of love has been used by virus writers in the past to spread their malicious creations, and no doubt they will do so again."
Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.