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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, Jan. 30 through Wednesday, Feb. 4



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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