The worm has the subject line "All people" and appears to be from "firstname.lastname@example.org." It has an attachment titled "11September.exe." According to antivirus company McAfee.com, the worm starts a mass mailing to all people found in Microsoft's Windows and Outlook address books.
The worm is believed to have originated in Russia. But according to McAfee, the programming is buggy and it fails to work on many systems. The company classified the worm as a low-level threat.
Antivirus software maker Symantec said that fewer than 50 infections had been reported as of Tuesday night.
The text of the message claims the attachment has photographs that offer new evidence of the events of Sept. 11 and claims that "America and England have begun bombardment of Iraq."
"This seems to be a poor attempt from a wannabe virus writer to exploit the commemoration of Sept. 11," Mikko Hypponen, manager of antivirus research at F-Secure, said in a statement. "However, as the worm seems to crash regularly, it won't go far."
This is not the first time virus writers have tried to exploit the terror attacks. A worm was launched weeks after the attacks last year that claimed to be a. And the Nimda worm, which infected hundreds of thousands of systems, was only a week after last year's terror attacks.