A new version of the idiot-friendly virus generator responsible for the recent Anna Kournikova fiasco has started appearing on underground websites around the world.
At the same time, a report from the FBI has revealed the true extent of the damage caused by web vandals such as hackers and virus writers.
The VBS worm generator version 2 first went up on a number of Argentinean virus sites - Argentina being the home of the virus kit author [K]alamar, who shot to notoriety when the Anna virus hit the headlines last month.
The latest version still creates Visual Basic based worms, but is even simpler to use and now includes more features to speed up replication, including hooks into Outlook, chat clients pirch and Mirc, and numerous file infections.
Viruses created by this kit will also search for network devices in order to spread, and feature new encryption algorithms to avoid detection. The virus codes are based on random 10-number variations, so no two viruses appear the same, and cannot be tagged so easily by antivirus software.
Damage caused by malicious viruses goes some way to contribute to the $270m lost by US companies last year, as reported by the FBI.
The annual Computer Crime and Security Survey, carried out by the FBI and the Computer Security Institute, revealed that almost 90 per cent of the 273 respondents detected computer security breaches within the last 12 months, with 74 per cent claiming financial losses due to this.
Virus-based damage was the most prominent, with 85 per cent of companies detecting malicious code on their networks. This was only seconded by employee abuse of internet and network access, which came in at 79 per cent.
Twenty-seven per cent of respondents detected denial of service attacks, and 25 per cent detected system penetration from the outside.
These figures have helped spark more than 40 investigations into US hacking incidents, and have fuelled fears that organised crime syndicates in Russia could be stepping up attempts to raid ebusinesses for electronic cash and credit card numbers.
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