Worm speaks to Windows users

Using the Windows Speech Engine, the Amos virus greets XP users on start-up, makes a dubious claim, then bids farewell in Turkish.

A worm that contains an embedded audio message has been bending the ears of Windows users

The Amus worm, which may be Turkish, uses the Windows Speech Engine, embedded on Windows XP, to play the following message:

"How are you. I am back. My name is Mr. Hamsi. I am seeing you. Haaaaaaaa. You must come to Turkey. I am cleaning your computer. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. 0. Gule gule."

"Gule gule" means "bye-bye" in Turkish.

The worm, which runs after the Windows XP boot-up music has played, also deletes certain files, causing Windows to fail. It spreads automatically via an e-mail titled "Listen and Smile" and alters home page settings in Internet Explorer.

"It might be confusing to users because it says 'I am seeing you,'" says Mikko Hypponen, director of antivirus research for F-Secure. "It's the only (worm) I have found speech on, but it is not too advanced because it is written in Visual Basic."

The worm has been rated as a low risk by antivirus companies.

Dan Ilett of ZDNet UK reported from London.