A seemingly harmless worm spreading around the world could point the way to an explosion in Arabic viruses, according to one security vendor.
Masaki Suenaga, a security response engineer at Symantec, claimed that Arabic elements within the W32.Alnuh worm could be a test to see how users react.
"W32.Alnuh looks like just an experiment by the author," Suenaga said on the company's website.
"After they have done their homework, they might step to the next stage to make a more complicated virus."
Suenaga said that viruses not written in English usually target Chinese, German, Spanish, Portuguese or Russian users, as well as Indonesian, Japanese or Thai to a lesser extent.
"There might be more Arabic-aware viruses in the wild than we think simply because many of us do not notice Arabic words, but we are seeing more Arabic-aware viruses than a year ago," said Suenaga.
"Before it becomes a surge, like the case of Chinese viruses, security vendors and computer users in Arabic-speaking countries should prepare themselves."
Discovered on 31 May, W32.Alnuh spreads harmlessly and only terminates programs to protect itself.
The worm closes Windows Task Manager, Registry Editor, Command Prompt and the Folder Options in Windows Explorer in both English and Arabic versions of the Windows operating system.
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