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E-Mail Virus Again Fails to Launch Data Attack

August 25, 2003|From Reuters

The fast-spreading SoBig.F e-mail virus slowed Sunday and failed for a second time to launch a remote data attack using thousands of infected personal computers, computer security experts said.

SoBig.F, which emerged Aug. 18, was programmed to unleash a data attack at noon PDT Sunday.

But the trigger -- a computer program unwittingly installed on 20 poorly defended computers mostly in the United States and Canada -- was deactivated Friday. As a result, Sunday's attempt was a nonevent, according to reports from technology security company Symantec Corp. and Craig Schmugar, virus research engineer at rival Network Associates Inc.

An initial automated barrage planned for Friday was averted after government and security industry experts raced to diffuse the digital trigger that could have taken control of more than 100,000 infected computers.

The number of infected computers worldwide fell Saturday to Sunday to 98,205 from 145,264, according to anti-virus software maker Trend Micro.

SoBig.F is the sixth version of a virus that appeared in January. Each one has been stronger than the previous, computer security officials said. SoBig.F is programmed to expire Sept. 10.

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