Lessons learned from "Anna"
Richard Power, author, "Tangled Web"
The resident of a northern suburb of Buenos Aires became worried after a local TV station broadcast the news of the Anna virus and highlighted the connection between an Argentinian virus writer, Kalamar, and his Vbs Worm Generator program that helped create the virus.
The underground programmer said he took the moniker because his favorite soccer team, Club Atletico Platense, uses the nickname "The Squid," or "El Calamar." The tools had been available on the Web from his site, Kalamar Warez.
Also known as VBS/SST, VBS_Kalamar, and VBS/OnTheFly, the Anna Kournikova virus initially poses as a photo of the wildly popular 19-year-old Russian tennis player included in an e-mail. The file name in the message is AnnaKournikova.jpg.vbs, but it may be an abbreviated form of that as well.
The virus uses Visual Basic Scripting to infect Windows systems and then, on systems with Outlook, mails itself to the entire address book. Its ability to mail itself out to a large number of Internet users classifies the virus as a worm.
On Tuesday, the self-proclaimed author of the virus, calling himself OnTheFly, posted a statement to a hastily constructed Tripod Web site.
"I didn't do it for fun," he stated on the posting dated Tuesday. "I never wanted to harm the people who opened the attachment. But after all: It's their own fault they got infected."
The first line of the Anna virus contained the line "Vbs.OnTheFly Created By OnTheFly," but because of Kournikova's popularity, most victims referred to the virus as Anna Kournikova.
The statement confirmed that OnTheFly used the readily available virus writing tool, Vbs Worm Generator, to create the Anna Kournikova virus, but exonerated the tool's author of aiding him.
A 20-year-old Dutchman turned himself in to local authorities Wednesday, claiming to be OnTheFly.
Kalamar, whose mother proudly said he "knows a lot about computers," said she feels he's been an involuntary accomplice in the Anna epidemic. Despite his newly acquired fame, Kalamar wishes to remain anonymous.
When asked why he removed the program from the Web site, he simply said, "I don't want anybody talking about me."
However, the Vbs Worm Generator countinues to remain available on at least a few other sites.
At least one aspect of Kalamar's programming survives in all the viruses created by his program: the date Jan. 26, the teen's birthday. In the Anna Kournikova virus, Jan. 26 is the day that the virus will redirect people to a retail Web site in the Netherlands.