February 3, 2006

Blackmal computer timebomb causes little damage

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A computer virus that was designed to
start its malicious work on Friday did not cause the mayhem
that was anticipated, computer security firms said.

The worm, known as "Blackmal" and "Kama Sutra," hides
inside email attachments and contains a time-activated payload
due to execute on the third day of each month, first occurring
on Friday.

Once activated, the worm will try to spread itself, attempt
to stop anti-worm software from running and try to delete all
Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF file types from an infected PC.

Rather than disabling up to 500,000 PCs that were expected
to be infected, the virus had hit only a few thousand computers
by midday in continental Europe, mostly from individual
consumers, according to several computer security firms.

Advance warnings by virus security firms and enterprises to
their customers and employees appeared to have worked.

"This is certainly not a disaster," said technical
consultant Graham Cluley at British virus fighter firm Sophos.

Rival security software firm Symantec confirmed "the worm
is not spreading wildly and infections are relatively low."

The virus is also known as "Nyxem," "MyWife," and "Tearec."