'Bin Laden' virus spreading in China

A virus that sends abusive messages about the US president through email and across ICQ instant messaging is spreading in China, according to reports
Written by Wendy McAuliffe, Contributor

An email-aware virus named "Bin Laden" is spreading through China, according to the state-run China Daily newspaper. The newspaper attributes the reports to Beijing-based Kingsoft, a developer of antivirus and word processing software. No reports of BinLaden_Brasil.exe have been received in the UK to date.

The Internet worm, which arrives as an email attachment entitled BinLaden_Brasil.exe, was first detected on 25 October and has not been active. But reports of the virus surfaced in China throughout Tuesday night, said the China Daily.

The virus is believed to be a response to ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan. It arrives as an email with a randomly generated subject line, such as "Bin Laden toilette paper!!" and "Sadam Hussein and Bin Laden in love". The attachment -- W32.Toal.A@mm -- runs automatically when the email is viewed, may make a copy of itself in the C:\ directory, and makes this drive shareable.

On some occasions the virus will activate a graphical payload, displaying various colourful slogans across the desktop, along with a message box. A section of the message reads: "Bush, you need more hashish in your life...You are not the cops of the world, and World Trade Center was the first. Now you take the freedom of your own people, and the world is laughing...Ohhhh is this the American way of life? HAHAHAHA!!!"

The worm is also programmed to connect to the popular online chat software ICQ, which increases its ability to spread across computer networks. It searches these chat pages for heywords such as "friends" and "history", and sends itself to email addresses that it finds within the found pages.

See the Viruses and Hacking News Section for the latest headlines.

See the Net Crime News Section for the latest on hacking, fraud, viruses and related issues.

Have your say instantly, and see what others have said. Click on the TalkBack button and go to the Security forum.

Let the editors know what you think in the Mailroom. And read other letters.

Editorial standards