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FBI chimes in on Shockwave email virus

The FBI joins a growing number of experts that are warning computer users about a new email virus that comes disguised as an Internet movie.

    The FBI has joined a growing number of experts that are warning computer users about a new email virus that last week struck several U.S. companies and comes disguised as an Internet movie.

    Although it carries no destructive payload, the virus, which is an Internet worm, routinely sends itself to a victim's email address book, making it possible to clog email networks with its mass mailing capability, the FBI's Washington, D.C.-based National Infrastructure Protection Center warned.

    Experts warn that if the new virus gains enough momentum, it could crash email servers in the same way the notorious "I Love You" virus did.

    The government has been watching the virus for some time and has given it a threat assessment of "medium." The worm comes as a Shockwave Internet animation format with the header, "A great Shockwave flash movie," referring to the popular animation format.

    When activated, the virus copies itself on the C drive and start-up directory and shoots itself as an attachment to all the contacts in the victim's Microsoft Outlook address book.

    Over the past week, several antivirus companies have also posted warnings about the worm, assigning threat assessments ranging from "low" to "high" risk.