Antivirus experts have warned users to watch where they surf after the appearance of a virus that can be caught just by visiting a web page.
Kaspersky Labs today issued a warning about an internet worm called 'Jer' that was placed on a website within the Geocities community. The worm's author announced the website - entitled 'The 40 ways women fail in bed' - on several internet relay chat (IRC) channels, attracting more than 1000 visitors on its first day.
When users visited the site they would have received a warning from their system asking whether they wanted to accept or reject an unknown script - which unbeknown to them contained the worm.
Kaspersky said most users are likely to press 'yes' to get rid of the pop-up message, but in doing so would be infecting their PC.
The worm's payload is very similar to that of viruses such as the Love Bug and its many variations in that it tries to email itself out to every address in the users' Microsoft Outlook address book.
In Jer's case, some errors in the worm's script meant that it was unable to spread by email, but it was able to spread using IRC.
Although antivirus companies have not received any reports of virus infections and the website has now been removed, virus experts said the incident highlights the need for users to have the highest possible security settings on their browsers.
Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at UK-based antivirus company Sophos, said: "We recommend users have their browser's security set as high as possible.
"Users should also be wary of visiting websites which are easy to set up, such as [those hosted by] Geocities, as these are more likely to be damaging."
Cluley said infection through websites is less likely to be used by virus authors because it would be much easier to trace the author, than someone using anonymous email.
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