News

Kournikova Virus Traced to @Home Sub

2/14/2001 3:32 AM Eastern

An Excite@Home Corp. cable-modem subscriber in the Netherlands who goes by
the online alias 'OnTheFly' has claimed responsibility for the Anna Kournikova
computer virus, according to published reports.

The virus, named after the world-renowned tennis star, comes as an electronic
mail with an attachment named 'AnnaKournikova.jpg.vbs.' When executed, the
application proceeds to infiltrate the user's e-mail address book and sends the
file to everyone on the list, resulting in clogged e-mail servers worldwide.

According to the Associated Press, OnTheFly, a 20-year-old male from the
northern Dutch province of Friesland, has turned himself in to local authorities
and could face property-damage charges, which carry a maximum penalty of four
years in jail.

The virus' creator reportedly posted his confession on a Web site, claiming
that the e-mail worm was not meant to harm people, but to warn Internet users to
bolster their online-security measures.

Excite@Home officials could not be reached for immediate comment about the
alleged culprit.

High Speed Access Corp., another cable-modem-service provider, said the virus
boosted e-mail traffic this week, but it didn't delay or halt services.

Vice president of engineering Andy Shumway said HSA subscribers were mostly
unaffected by the virus because it attacks Microsoft Corp.-based e-mail
interfaces, such as 'Outlook.' HSA uses a default UNIX-based user-client
interface, although subscribers are free to use Outlook if they so choose, he
added.

Shumway said the impact of the latest bug to infect PCs was far less than
that of last year's 'Love Bug' virus, mostly because users are becoming more
aware of viral outbreaks.

'End-users are getting smarter,' and they are more often than not
automatically deleting e-mails with suspect attachments, he
added.

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