TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Google Sends a Virus to 50,000 Users

Google Sends a Virus to 50,000 Users

David Garrett (
Mon, 13 Nov 2006 14:52:59 -0600

By David Garrett

The Kama Sutra worm, also called W32/Kapser.A@mm by some security
companies, was sent out by e-mail last Wednesday to some 50,000 users
of Google's Video Blog group. Security experts say the worm is not a
significant threat to people who have current antivirus updates
installed on their computers, given that the Kama Sutra worm has been
around for quite some time.


On Wednesday, Google gave users something it didn't mean to: a virus.
Some 50,000 users of Google's Video Blog group, which updates them
about new posts to the blog by e-mail, received a copy of
W32/Kapser.A@mm, also known as the Kama Sutra virus.

The virus is a worm -- a small program that can replicate itself, in
this case by hijacking a user's e-mail system and sending itself to
the user's correspondents.

The Kama Sutra worm arrives as a pornographic e-mail -- hence its
name, a reference to an ancient Sanskrit text on sex believed to be
written sometime between the first and sixth centuries A.D.

But oddly enough, the Kama Sutra virus -- and not just the ancient
book it was named for -- is long in the tooth. The virus was first
released in the early part of 2006, meaning that most companies have
long since updated their antivirus programs to detect it.

Google's Video Blog Group is maintained by Google employees. Precisely
how the worm slipped onto their machines is unknown.

Danger or Dud?

Expert Natalie Lambert said that few companies should be affected by
Google's mishap. "Any enterprise worth its salt has been updating its
antivirus components," she said. "They do this on a daily basis."

But according to Lambert, the picture for consumers was less sanguine.
"The problem," she said, "is if you think about who the Google e-mail
video group is likely to be, it's a lot of consumers. And consumers
are the least likely to update their antivirus signatures."

In fact, many consumers don't invest in antivirus programs at all,
according to Lambert. Instead, they leave their systems exposed to
well-known attacks that can be simply and quickly prevented -- attacks
for which a defense was formed months ago.

Heal Thyself

Even those who do own antivirus programs often fail to update them

Lambert noted that next-gen security products from Microsoft,
Symantec, McAfee, and other companies address this problem by looking
at new strategies for antivirus protection.

Instead of selling users standalone software and expecting them to
update it themselves, or even respond to update alerts that software
vendors provide, products such as Microsoft's Windows Live OneCare
build greater automation -- and thus greater protection -- into their

"That's what consumers need," said Lambert. "They need to be handed
something that will essentially fix itself."

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Maybe some of you have noticed that
Grisoft AVG anti-virus is no longer going to have a *free edition*
after early in January, 2007. If we want to use it, we will need to
pay for it effective after next month. PAT]

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