A mass-mailing computer virus that is coded to delete files on February
3 may have spread to more than 500,000 servers, if evidence from a Web
counter can be trusted.
Known as the Blackmal.E or Nyxem.E
virus, the program travels as an attachment to e-mail messages with
suggestive subject lines such as "School girl fantasies gone bad" and
"Re: Sex Video". The virus will completely compromise systems whose
users open the attachment, attempting to disable security software and
making extensive changes to the registry.
The virus will increment a Web counter hosted at Internet service
provider RCN. The counter, which can be accessed via a Web address,
surpassed 500,000 this weekend, according to antivirus firm F-Secure.
The counter may not be accurate, as it could have started above zero
and logs any browser that also goes to the Web address, counting
observers as well as compromised PCs in a sort of Heisenberg's
Uncertainty Principle for the Internet.