MessageLabs, the email security company, says it has so far intercepted over one million copies of Sobig.F, a variation of an earlier virus that was doing the rounds some time back, since it was first detected on 18th August, in the first 24 hours. This makes Sobig.F the fastest growing virus ever, surpassing the infamous LoveBug and Kournikova viruses.
Sobig is a mass-emailing virus that can spoof the sender?s address, fooling the user into believing the email is from a legitimate source and then opening the email. The email often contains the following header: “Subject: Re:details” and the text ?Please see the attached file for details?. The attachment names may include: your_document.pif, details.pif, your_details.pif, thank_you.pif, movie0045.pifm document_Fall.pif, application.pif, docment_9446.pif.
Once the virus has got on to your machine, it connects to a website and downloads a backdoor Trojan, leaving your computer vulnerable to security breaches by hackers or other viruses. The virus is set to deactivate on September the 10th. The virus is spreading at such a rate it is expected to continue to stay at high-level status for the short term.
The scary bit: it seems to be a serial virus. Alex Shipp, Senior Anti Virus Technologist at MessageLabs, says:
“The virus writer?s use of an inbuilt expiry date on Sobig indicates that he is committed to inventing new and improved versions. Each variant released so far has exceeded the previous one in growth.”