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New computer virus spreads among PC users

The virus that camouflages itself as a message from PayPal has started spreading among home users, CNET online service said.

india Updated: Dec 10, 2003 22:20 IST

A computer virus that camouflages itself as a message from PayPal has started spreading among home users, CNET online service reported on Saturday quoting antivirus companies.

The programme is a variant of the Mimail virus, which had previously spread by appearing to be a security advisory from Microsoft. The latest version is attached to an e-mail forged to look as though it came from PayPal, an online payment service bought by eBay last year.

Running the programme infects the victim's computer and asks the PC user for credit card information, which the virus then sends to the attacker.

"It is a new trend among virus authors to get deeper into criminal acts and attempt to generate revenue," Craig Schmugar, virus research engineer for security company Network Associates, was quoted by CNET as saying.

When a person opens the e-mail attachment, a window appears bearing the PayPal logo and asking for credit card information. The virus stores any information provided by the victim in a file called "ppinfo.Sys" and the file is sent to four e-mail addresses stored in the programme.

Antivirus companies are in the process of blocking access to the e-mail boxes.

The virus also searches through the Internet browser files cached on a victim's computer and grabs e-mail addresses from the sources found there. It then sends itself as an attachment to the original e-mail to every address found.

First Published: Nov 27, 2003 15:26 IST