Computer Crime Research Center


German government warns of virus

Date: November 16, 2005

German authorities warned Tuesday that new varieties of the Sober computer virus are in circulation and spreading quickly.

Internet users should beware of suspicious e-mails that could carry the W and X varieties of the virus, the Federal Office for Security in Information Technology said.

The bug is one of more than a dozen variants of the Germany-oriented Sober virus family that first appeared on the Internet in October 2003. It is a ''Trojan horse,'' a hacker back door, that can be used to turn victims' PCs into relayers of spam e-mail.

The e-mails contain an invitation in either English or German to open an attachment, the German authority said. Doing so activates the virus.

In May, another variant of the virus hit the United States, Germany, and elsewhere, sending out a blast of e-mails with subject lines in German such as ''60 years of Freedom: Who's Celebrating?'' referring to the end of World War II, and containing links to the NPD, a German far-right party.

As a result, prosecutors in the southern German state of Bavaria are trying to track down the instigators for suspected incitement.
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