United Messaging Stops ‘Pentagone’ Virus in Its Tracks

MALVERN, Pa.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Dec. 6, 2001–United Messaging Inc., the leading provider of outsourced messaging and collaboration solutions for large enterprises, today reported that its Message Control(TM) service had intercepted nearly 15,000 instances of a new e-mail “virus” dubbed Pentagone in the first 24 hours.

The virus is also nicknamed “Gone” or “Goner.” United Messaging diagnosed the mass mailing Visual Basic Script program early on Tuesday, December 4, 2001. Pentagone spreads via e-mail and the messaging system ICQ. The worm, which disables most anti-virus and security programs, only affects computers running Microsoft Windows, by spreading through Outlook e-mail clients.

Meanwhile, the company’s Message Control e-mail firewall service protected the networks of its corporate clients. United Messaging operates a 24x7x365 Network Operations Center (NOC) and international data centers to monitor and manage its systems and protect its clients.

The company’s Message Control clients are protected using a virus detection engine that has been awarded ICSA Certification and has received numerous awards for its top quality virus detection.

Pentagone is the latest virus to mass mail itself – it targets everyone in a user’s address book. The worm has the potential to crash corporate e-mail systems by sending out thousands of copies of itself. This type of virus is technically called a “worm” because it transmits itself throughout the network. Pentagone arrives in a message with the subject “Hi” and the following text in the body of the e-mail:

“How are you?

When I saw this screensaver, I immediately thought about you

I am in a harry, I promise you will love it!”

“This is the latest complex virus to erupt across computer networks,” said Dr. Addison Woods, Chief Security Officer of United Messaging. “Viruses are being written fast and furious and despite the best efforts of IT security professionals, too many organizations are not paying enough attention. To combat these outbreaks, corporations need to utilize two weapons: knowledge and an efficient firewall system.”

Attached to the message is what appears to be a screensaver file, Gone.scr, a compressed copy of the worm. When the file is opened, Pentagone will infect the victim’s PC, stopping a variety of anti-virus and security applications and deleting all the files in the folders containing those applications.

After eliminating the security on the computer, the worm opens up a dialog box containing its name, Pentagone, and the handles of its creators. The dialog box also includes acknowledgements to other people on the Net, in a style similar to that of online vandals who deface Web sites.

About Message Control

Message Control(R) is an e-mail management and security service that helps organizations effectively manage their Internet mail traffic and enforce electronic mail security, privacy and appropriate use policies. In addition to virus protection, United Messaging clients also use the service to:

— Reduce the amount of junk mail received

— Block messages that may contain inappropriate content

— Set message size limits

— Access real time traffic reports

About United Messaging

United Messaging helps large enterprises eliminate boundaries and accelerate improvement by conducting anytime, anywhere business. It does this by connecting people and processes using messaging and collaboration tools based on best of breed applications like Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Domino, and iPlanet.

The company handles nearly 2,000,000 e-mails each business day, offering increased messaging performance, reliability, and security while reducing operational expense.

The company is headquartered in Malvern, PA. For more information, contact United Messaging at www.unitedmessaging.com, or 888/993-5088. United Messaging is a registered trademark of United Messaging, Inc. All other trademarks mentioned herein are either trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

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