Michael Jackson Mass Mailing Worm

Posted by on Jul 4, 2009 in Security

Michael Jackson Mass Mailing Worm

There is a new email worm going around which claims to come from sarah@michaeljackson.com and uses a subject “Remembering Michael Jackson” to try to entice you. The worm sends out spam emails with an attachment named “Michael songs and pictures.zip.” The .zip file contains another file called “MichaelJacksonsongsandpictures.doc.exe,” which is a copy of the worm that is executed on the user’s machine when the file is opened. It is important to keep in mind that this worm spreads not only through email, but also via removable drives using autorun.inf.

A computer worm is a self-replicating computer program. It uses a network to send copies of itself to other nodes (computers on the network) and it may do so without any user intervention. Unlike a virus, it does not need to attach itself to an existing program. Worms almost always cause at least some harm to the network, if only by consuming bandwidth, whereas viruses almost always corrupt or devour files on a targeted computer.

Worms and viruses are often distributed as attachments to e-mail messages. With vulnerable e-mail programs the virus may be activated by viewing or previewing the message; more robust programs only allow infection if the user opens the attachment for execution. Unexpected e-mail with attachments should always be considered suspicious and dangerous, particularly if not known to be sent by a trusted source.

Some mail services and software filter out potentially dangerous attachments such as executables and scripts, although more expert users may find this limitation a nuisance. Viruses in attachments to or the body of e-mail may be scanned for and dealt with by anti-virus software running on the host computer, mail client software, and mail and Internet service providers, although non-detection of a virus does not guarantee a message to be safe.

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