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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

Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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