A new virus, which affected the Austrian office of a multinational company over the weekend, is being actively distributed by its author through Internet newsgroups.
The DOS based virus, called HLL Toadie.7800, can infect Windows executables but they will still run, although a DOS prompt box will temporarily appear on the screen.
According to experts at UK based anti-virus company Sophos, if an infected file is run at 17 minutes past the hour, the virus displays:
TOADiE v1.2-Raid [SLAM]
If Pegasus mail is installed on the user's computer, the virus will attempt to attach itself to messages waiting to be sent. It will also drop a Script.ini file and a copy of itself into the directory C:\MIRC if it exists in an attempt to distribute itself via Internet Relay Chat (IRC).
When the virus is first received it displays one of five messages, possibly including the following:
There once was a bud named BC
He grew on a 7 foot tree
Till one day I plucked him
Rolled him and smoked him
And now I can barely see!
Paul Ducklin, head of research at Sophos said it was unlikely that many companies will be affected: "It's badly written and doesn't spread very well."
However, he said the author is trying very hard to spread his virus. In an attempt to make his virus widespread, the author who calls himself Raid, has posted infected programs to various Internet newsgroups. These include a program, which claims to clone mobile phones, and another, which generates passwords for access to pornographic Web sites.
Furthermore, he has been boasting of his achievements in public on virus-related newsgroups. It is this kind of behaviour, warned Ducklin, that led to the Black Baron, British author of the Smeg viruses, to be sentenced to 18 months in prison in 1995.
"Any company that does get infected should keep a record of the circumstances in which they were hit. This can be used as evidence of his intentions should the author ever get caught," said Ducklin.
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