Antivirus experts have warned users to "stop falling for the same old tricks" as yet another virus begins to hit desktops around the world.
The Life Stages worm was detected by antivirus companies at the weekend. As people returned to their offices yesterday, it began to spread rapidly worldwide, with copies detected in the UK, US and Australia.
UK application service provider Messagelabs said it has received over 1100 reports of the virus in the UK.
Network Associates said that like the Love Bug virus, Life Stages has the potential to create 'storms' leading to network performance slowdowns, and has the ability to install extraneous content on users' systems that can significantly deplete system memory.
Life Stages arrives as a joke about the male and female stages of life, with many different subject lines including "Funny". The body of the email contains the text: "The male and female stages of life", and has the file "LIFE_STAGES.TXT.SHS" attached.
Once the attachment is opened, the worm creates files of random names throughout the local system and on all available drives. The worm also emails itself to everyone in the infected user's Microsoft Outlook address book.
Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at antivirus company Sophos, said the virus is the most prevalent since the Love Bug, which struck companies worldwide in early May.
"Why are people still falling for the same trick and opening message attachments. In this case, I cannot think of any circumstances under which anyone would need to receive this type of [SHS] file," he said.
"You can't block .doc files or .exe files as there are legitimate cases for receiving them. But to stop this virus companies could block all .SHS files at their email gateways."
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