Virus combines quadruple-whammy attack

Symantec discover the nasty 'W32.Mypics worm'

A new mega-virus that combines three potentially devastating characteristics has been found in the wild by the research laboratories at Symantec Anti-Virus

Once the W32.Mypics worm arrives at an Outlook inbox, it sends itself out to 50 people in the address book and attempts to convert the Web browser's home page to a porn site. It also does its level best to format the local hard drive.

Although Symantec has received only a small number of reports of Mypics, Aled Miles managing director for Symantec UK and Ireland says now is a crucial period in the development of the virus that was found in the wild at 4.48 GMT Friday. "If it's going to break, it's going to do it soon," he warns. "This sort of thing happens very quickly."

Miles also believes Mypics represents a worrying new trend in virus technology. "The capability of viruses is increasing greatly, that's they key thing. There's a lot of talk about hype but you only need one of these to cause a lot of damage."

Another daunting prospect raised by Miles: "What happens if two or three of these happens at the same time? Time is definitely condensing. Is this going to be a trend continuing up to and beyond the New Year?"

A update for Symantec's anti-virus software that combats Mypics can be downloaded from the company's labs .

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