While everyone heard about LoveLetter, it wasn't the most reported virus to Symantec during May. That honour went to Kakworm, a seven-month-old worm that was also the most reported virus in April, May and June on a global basis.
Every major antivirus company has a definition for this virus, so why is it still a headache for business and home users?
What does Kakworm do? Nothing that would be seen by the infected user. Through the ever popular Outlook, this worm can embed itself into legitimate emails you generate and send without you ever knowing, and the recipient wouldn't know either - it isn't an attachment.
However, come the first of the month at 5pm BST, it will shut down Windows without warning. Not great damage, but the kind of jiggery-pokery could cause you to lose unsaved work and potentially lead to system instability - let alone the reputation issues to your business.
Think of how many emails you will have sent to clients, customers, suppliers and friends during those 30 or even 60 days before you notice a problem.
Kakworm relies on user apathy. Even if you have the latest virus definitions from your antivirus supplier, you could still contract it. If your antivirus software does not scan for viruses in your Outlook database then you may be at risk. Don't assume that your software is capable of scanning for this type of embedded virus - not all of them can.
Microsoft released a patch to prevent this type of exploit back in October 1999. Using this patch would prevent the worm spreading, but not many users have installed it.
Kakworm will be cropping up on WildLists and researchers' top 10s for a long time. We must heed the warnings and become vigilant with all software updates, so we are prepared for the even more destructive versions that may come along.
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