Computer virus masquerades as FBI message

| 11/28/2005

A new generation of an old computer virus has reared its ugly head across the Internet, this time with some very effective tricks up its sleeve.

According to several computer security companies, the Sober.W worm – a computer malady that’s been around in one form or another for about two years – is showing up again in e-mail inboxes, posing as a letter from the FBI or CIA.

The message claims that the recipient has been visiting illegal Web sites, and asks he or she to open an attached filed, which contains the virus.

Although the worm is no more advanced, technologically speaking, than its predecessors, its clever distribution method has caused a spike in the virus’ rate in infection, according to a statement released by antivirus firm Symantec.

“The rate of its spread is quite high,” Sam Curry, vice president of Computer Associates’ eTrust security group, told trade publication Information Week. “(The number of infections is) still relatively low, but growing.”

The FBI also released a statement acknowledging the virus, and denying any involvement or connection with the e-mails.

“This particular e-mail claims the FBI has been monitoring your Internet use … and demands you answer questions – all you have to do is open an attachment,” the FBI said in a statement on its Web site. “The FBI does not conduct business this way.”