Potter fans beware! There's a virus in your computer

Victims will receive an email with various files attached, having names like Harry Potter 1-6 book txt exe.
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Updated on Jun 10, 2004 04:39 PM IST
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PTI | ByPrasun Sonwalkar (Indo-Asian News Service), London

Harry Potter fans beware -- there is a computer virus out there waiting to catch you.

Technology experts Sophos say the Netsky-P worm, which hides in an email, has been fuelled by its link to the hit books and movies.

Victims will receive an email with various files attached, with names including Harry Potter 1-6 book txt exe and Harry Potter game exe.

But when they open it hoping for the latest Potter gossip or something to play, it will instead cast a nasty spell over their machine.

The virus slows down their Internet surfing and multiplies by sending out hundreds more infected mails to family and friends whose addresses are listed on their computer.

Sophos says it has received more than 5,000 reports from infected users blaming the massive surge on the release of new Potter movie, The Prisoner of Azkaban.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at virus detection firm Sophos, told the media, "Netsky-P can only infect your computer if is opened.

"So by linking it to something as popular as Harry Potter, young users are more likely to click it, thinking it's something they want to see.

"It feeds off Pottermania and the fact fans across the world are desperate to find out anything they can about the character."

He added: "Parents need to educate their children that not everything is what it seems where viruses are concerned and make them aware of the harm they can cause."

Netsky-P was first spotted in March and was the second biggest virus outbreak in May, topped only by the Sasser worm.

That caused mayhem for thousands of businesses by slowing down their systems to a crippling pace.

This new outbreak echoes a virus in 2000 nicknamed the "Pikachu worm" which pretended it had something to do with popular cartoon series Pokemon.

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