Virus researchers have discovered a new variant of the destructive Magistr virus that destroys local and network files and can also overwrite data stored on the CMOS and BIOS chips. The virus is spreading quickly in Europe, anti-virus vendors say.
Known as Magistr.B, the new virus arrives in an email and can carry multiple message attachments. The virus itself is contained in a file called readme.exe, and the user must open the file for the virus to execute.
The virus is a variant of the original Magistr.A virus, which has been around since early 2000 and is still one of the most common viruses on the Internet.
In addition to destroying files, Magistr.B also overwrites win.com and NETLDR, the operating-system loaders for Windows, and destroys any file with a .ntz extension, which are files used by AV software, according to an alert released by security vendor Vigilinx.
The new virus also disables any active copies of Zone Labs 's ZoneAlarm personal firewall that it finds.
The virus spreads via email and generates random subject lines of up to 60 characters. Unlike many other mass-mailing viruses, Magistr.B can pull addresses from the files of several email clients, including Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora, Netscape Messenger and some Web-based mail clients.
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