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Two Valentine Day Worms Found Infecting Computers

The security company Panda Security in Los Angeles, on January 25, 2008, announced that it identified two new worms found to infect computers. The worms named Valentin.E and Nuwar.OL use the Valentine's Day theme to propagate.

Technical Director Luis Corrons of PandaLabs said that over the years, there have been appearing several strains of malware that use the Valentine's Day topic as a popular bait to draw users' interest. This shows that cyber criminals continue to reap benefits from this technique, and people continue to be victimized, Corrons said. Xinhuanet published Corrons' statement on January 25, 2008.

The Nuwar.OL worm enters computers via e-mail carrying subject lines like 'Inside My Heart', 'I Love You So Much' or 'You...In My Dreams'. The message contains a link that leads to a website from where malicious code is downloaded.

Another Security Company, Trend Micro also cautioned users to be watchful of the Nuwar.OL worm. According to it, Nuwar.OL creators apply social engineering tactics to exploit real-life events like the Valentine's Day, the season of National Football League, Central Europe's Kyrill storm, and holidays including Labor Day, July 4, and Halloween.

Similar to the Nuwar.OL worm, Valentin.E spreads via e-mail with message titles as 'True Love' or 'Searching for True Love', and a file attachment named 'friends4u'. If the recipient clicks on the attachment, a replica of the malware is downloaded.

The worm gets installed in the form of a file having a .scr extension. For a user who runs the file, Valentin.E displays a changed desktop background, while copying itself several times on the system. Finally, it crafts several e-mails and sends them out with its own copies to other users in order to spread the infection.

Corrons said that both cases of malware are clear instances of social engineering tactics used to propagate malicious code. They use enticing topics like Valentine's Day, romantic themes for the desktop etc., to lure users into executing the attached files or clicking on links leading to malicious sites.

PandaLabs therefore advises users to be vigilant about files that are supposedly Valentine's e-greeting cards, videos with romantic films etc.

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