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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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Times Talk

ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Apr. 18


Teachers and students alike shouldn’t miss the opportunity to establish lasting contacts with Russian and foreign institutions during the 21st Education and Career Fair at LenExpo, beginning today and finishing tomorrow. Learn more about education in Russia and connect with your fellow scholars.


The Tromso International Film Festival, Norway’s largest, brings a short festival to St. Petersburg for one day only during Scandinavian Oddities, starting at 7 p.m. today at Rodina Cinema Center. Tickets for the event are 100 rubles ($2.80).


Sunday, Apr. 20


Celebrate Easter at Pavlovsk during the Easter Fair that begins today and continues through next Sunday. Visitors will have the chance to paint Easter eggs and children can take part in games as well as help decorate a tree in honor of Christianity’s holiest day.


Today is one of the final days to see the exhibit Cacti — Children of the Sun at the Peter the Great Botanical Garden. Starting Apr. 17, budding botanists will marvel at the variety and beauty of the desert’s most iconic plant.


Monday, Apr. 21


Improve your grasp of Neruda, Bolano and Marquez at TrueDA’s Beginners Spanish Lesson this evening at their location on the Petrograd Side. An experienced teacher will be on hand to help all attendees better understand the intricacies of the language and improve their accent.


Tuesday, Apr. 22


SPIBA’s Breakfast with the Director event series continues as the association welcomes Andrei Barannikov, general director of SPN Communications, to the Anna Pavlova Hall of the Angleterre Hotel this morning at 9 a.m. Attendees must confirm their participation by Apr. 21.


The AmCham Environment, Health and Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. this morning in the their St. Petersburg office.