The Fizzer worm, which started to show up in the wild yesterday, appears already to be running out of steam.
The worm was first identified on Thursday last week and the major antivirus companies have pattern files available for download.
The author is suspected to be from southern Germany, based on the dialect used and the fact that the worm shuts down a popular German antivirus package called A Virus.
"This one's not setting the world on fire, you don't have to hide the valuables or cower under trees," said David Perry, director of education at security vendor Trend Micro.
"It is hitting multiple continents but spreading slowly and hasn't hit big in the US, which is still the largest base of installed PCs in the world.
"It could hang around on unpatched systems like Klez, but generally with this kind of worm if it doesn't go to a major outbreak right away it won't go at all."
If activated the worm mails itself to any addresses in Microsoft Outlook and Windows Address Book, any addresses it finds on the local system, and randomly manufactured addresses on the user's system.
It forges its 'From' headers and uses a huge variety of headers in English and German. So far only a few hundred infections have been reported.
In addition, it shuts down some antivirus packages and installs a keystroke logger and backdoor program and periodically attempts to download information to a Geocities website.
Users who update their antivirus definitions will be protected from the worm.
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