August 15, 2005

New Internet worm targeting Windows

SEATTLE (Reuters) - A new Internet virus targeting recently
uncovered flaws in Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system
is circulating on the Internet, an anti-virus computer software
maker said on Monday.

The ZOTOB virus appeared shortly after the world's largest
software maker warned of three newly found "critical" security
flaws in its software last week, including one that could allow
attackers to take complete control of a computer.

Trend Micro Inc. said that the worm exploits security holes
in Microsoft's Windows 95, 98, ME, NE, 2000 and XP platforms
and can give computer attackers remote access to affected

"Hundreds of infection reports were sighted in the United
States and Germany," Tokyo-based Trend Micro said.

But computer security engineers at Microsoft said that the
worm is only targeting Windows 2000 and not the other versions
of Windows.

"It only affected Windows 2000," said Stephen Toulouse, a
manager at Microsoft's Security Response Center. "So far its
has shown a very limited impact -- we're not seeing any
widespread impact to the Internet, but we remain vigilant."

The latest virus drops a copy of itself into the Windows
system folder as BOTZOR.EXE and modifies the system's host file
in the infected user's computer to prevent the user from
getting online assistance from anti-virus Web sites, Trend
Micro added.

The worm can also connect to a specific Internet relay chat
server and give hackers remote control over affected systems,
which can be used to infect other unpatched machines in a
network and slow down network performance.

"Since most users may not be aware of this newly announced
security hole so as to install the necessary patch during last
weekend, we can foresee more infections from WORM_ZOTOB," it

Last Tuesday, Microsoft issued patches to fix its security
flaws as part of its monthly security bulletin. The problems
affect the Windows operating system and Microsoft's Internet
Explorer Web browser.

Microsoft has warned that an attacker could exploit a
vulnerability in its Internet Explorer Web browser, lure users
to malicious Web pages and could run a software code on the
user's PC giving the attacker control of the affected computer.

Computer users should update their anti-virus pattern files
and apply the latest Microsoft patches to protect their
computer systems, Trend Micro said.

More than 90 percent of the world's PCs run on the Windows
operating system and Microsoft has been working to improve the
security and reliability of its software.