A week-old virus, named after the Spanish word for "valentine", was posted to nearly 100 newsgroups over the weekend in an attempt to spread the malicious code, said Russ Cooper, a researcher with security company TruSecure. Called VBS_Valentin.A, the virus uses a hole in older versions of Outlook and Outlook Express to automatically run when viewed in the e-mail reader's preview pane. On the 8th, 14th, 23rd and 29th day of any month, the virus will essentially delete every file on a PC, by replacing them with a .txt file of the same name but with no data.
On Outlook 2000, a dialog box will warn people that an unsafe script is attempting to run. Those who have upgraded Internet Explorer to version 5.01 or higher and have turned security to high will also get the warning. Every major antivirus vendor has updated their scanner definitions to detect the virus.