Cool Worm Chills Users’ Online Chats

Sophos, a world leader in corporate anti-virus protection, is warning users to be cautious when using instant messaging platforms after a new worm was discovered. JS/Coolnow-A (aka Cool worm) targets MSN Messenger by exploiting a vulnerability in Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Victims will receive an MSN instant message suggesting that the recipient visit a ‘cool’ website. The text of the message varies but may be similar to “Go to: http://

“. Far from visiting a ‘cool’ web page, if recipients click on the link they will go to a site featuring malicious Javascript that forwards the same message to everyone in their MSN contacts list.

“Instant messaging platforms may be a fast and convenient way of keeping up to date with your friends, but they are rarely used for business purposes,” said Natasha Staley, anti-virus consultant at Sophos. “With an increasing number of worms infecting IM applications, managers should question whether they are really necessary in the workplace.”

Most computer users are now aware of the risk of email-aware viruses and many businesses use internet- and gateway-level email scanners to protect their networks from malicious code. However, instant messaging viruses are a relatively new phenomenon and a strong reminder that viruses do not just spread by email, reinforcing the need for desktop anti-virus protection, combined with a policy of safe computing.

Microsoft released a patch this week for the vulnerability that was first reported last year. The patch can be found at

A virus identity file (IDE) which provides protection is available now from the Sophos website and will be incorporated into the April 2002 (3.56) release of Sophos Anti-Virus. The IDE file can be download from


Sophos is one of the world’s largest specialist developers of anti-virus software. The products are sold and supported through a global network of subsidiaries and partners in more than 150 countries. Sophos Anti-Virus is widely used by large corporations, banks and governments.

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