McAfee Anti-Virus Emergency Response Team (AVERT), a division of virus software maker Network Associates Inc, today raised its risk assessment of the worm to "high" due to an increased number of infected users.
McAfee AVERT did not indicate the number of people in Asia affected by the virus, but noted in a statement that it has received "hundreds" of reports of additional customers being infected globally.
W32/SirCam.Worm@mm was first discovered in Mexico on July 17. It spreads by emailing copies of itself to everyone in the infected computer's email address book, including Microsoft Outlook.
In addition, the worm sends a random file from the infected computer's hard drive in the form of an attachment, potentially exposing confidential business documents or personal information. The subject line of the email matches the name of the file being sent.
Come October 16, the worm could also be deleting files and degrading the performance of infected PCs, another virus software maker Symantec warned last Friday.
October 16 is believed to be the worm's "payload trigger"--a condition (such as a date, the execution of certain programs or the availability of an Internet connection) that causes a worm or virus to activate its malicious activity.
To combat the worm, users can update their security software at Symantec's Web site or at the McAfee AVERT site.