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Virus masquerades as password e-mail

A new Windows virus attempts to infect PCs by convincing users that the file that carries it contains an important password. The so-called Frethem virus is a mass mailer that infects only Windows systems, according to a Symantec advisory that gave the malicious program a rating of 3 out of 5. The virus appears in an e-mail with the header "Re: Your password!" When a user opens the attachment, the virus spreads to the victim's PC and sends itself to every e-mail address found in Windows address book as well as five other file types.

While some experts believe the virus will spread rapidly, current data from e-mail service provider MessageLabs shows that Frethem is running a distance sixth on the list of most prevalent viruses. Two variants of the Klez virus and a variant of the Yaha virus make up the top three on the service provider's list.