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Virulent MyDoom Computer Virus Created in Russia

Published: January 30, 2004 (Issue # 939)


MyDoom, the fastest-proliferating computer virus ever, has been traced back to Russia.

Using location-sensing software, Kaspersky Labs have followed the first e-mails infected with MyDoom back to addresses with Russian Internet providers.

"It's scary, but most serious viruses are written in Russia," said Denis Zenkov, spokesman for Kaspersky, the country's largest anti-virus software company.

Ever since it first appeared Monday night, the virus has managed to latch onto every twelfth e-mail sent, slowing down Internet traffic around the world.

"This virus can only be compared to chemical warfare, an indiscriminate weapon of mass destruction," said Mikhail Yakushev, a legal expert for Microsoft in Russia.

MyDoom breaks a previous record set by the Sobig worm which infected one in every 21 messages at its peak last summer.

Most disturbing is that the virus gives its creators - or anybody who cracks the virus's code - the power to take control of an infected PC.

The virus has already infected 600,000 to 700,000 computers around the globe, Kaspersky Labs estimate.

And it has caused some $2 billion in losses worldwide, according to Computer Economics, an Internet monitoring company.

Thirteen percent of infected computers are in the United States, compared to a figure of under 1 percent for Russia, according to Kaspersky Labs.

"Russia usually does better fighting e-mail viruses than the United States because systems administrators are generally more competent here and install protection more quickly," said Zenkov.

Russia might be better prepared, but then it is often the source of server-stomping viruses, as in the case of MyDoom.

"We don't understand why, because usually programmers write viruses during an economic downturn when there is no work and nothing else to do," said Zenkov. "Right now there is plenty of work for Russian programmers."

The cause of damage is not primarily the virus's ability to take control of an infected computer and change information stored on the hard drive.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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