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Beware of that New Year greeting!

india Updated: Jan 01, 2008 05:40 IST
Nandini R Iyer
Nandini R Iyer
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Watch out! Don’t open that ‘New Year Greeting’ from an unknown sender in your inbox. It may be an internet worm that will clog your mail box, send spam to your friends from your ID and slow down your computer.

The storm worm, one of the most deadly internet worms, is expected to reappear embedded as a self-executing file in e-mailed New Year greetings. The greetings if opened on January 1, can wreak havoc in the cyber world. The central government’s Indian Computer Emergency Response Team has issued advisories to all Internet Service Providers in India: VSNL, MTNL, Sify, Bharti and Reliance, telling them that storm worm variants have already begun circulating abroad. CERT sources told HT that the ISPs had been advised to block access to the domain “uhavepostcard.com”, “happycards2008.com” and “merrychristmasdude.com” which were found to be hosting variants of the storm worm.

Some of the e-mail subject lines to watch out for when you receive greetings from unknown senders include: “Happy New Year and someones name”, “Happy NY(random name)”, “A fresh new year”, “As the new year...”, “As you embrace another new year”, “Blasting new year”, “Happy 2008!”, “Happy New Year!”, “It's the new Year”, “Joyous new year”, “New Hope and New Beginnings”, “New Year Ecard”, “New Year Postcard”, “Opportunities for the new year”, and “Wishes for the new year”.

The infected e-mails carry a link to the above-mentioned domains. Merely opening the e-mail and clicking on the link that says “click here to read the greeting sent to you by XYZ” takes you to the website hosting the malicious worm which downloads itself.

CERT experts have advised ISPs to block these sites and install anti-worm patches to prevent them from taking users to the malicious websites. As an internet user, the smart thing to do when you receive a mail with these subject lines is to simply delete the mail without opening it, say internet security experts.