Published: May 16, 2005, 7:23 AM PDT
By Munir Kotadia
Special to CNET News.com
A new variant of the Sober virus appeared over the weekend, spreading right-wing messages in German and English.
Security companies are warning that they received hundreds of thousands of e-mails generated by Sober.Q in its first 24 hours.
Sober is usually a mass-mailing worm that sends a copy of itself to e-mail addresses stored on an infected computer's hard drive. However, during the same week that Germany and Europe celebrated the 60th anniversary of V-E Day, the latest variant's sole purpose seemed to be to distribute hate mail.
Scott Chasin, chief technology officer at e-mail security specialist MX Logic, said the latest variant of Sober was being uploaded to computers infected by previous variants of Sober, which means the virus authors may have remote control over thousands of PCs.
"Sober.Q appears to be downloaded by machines infected by Sober.P...," Chasin said. "If this is the case, the Sober.P author or authors could have remote command-and-control capabilities over a large network of infected machines. This network would provide not only a megaphone to distribute messages of hate, but a platform for future spam, worm and denial-of-service attacks."
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