One in Every Ten Emails Infected By Christmas Card Virus

The Zafi-D worm (W32/Zafi-D), which was discovered on Tuesday posing as a Christmas greeting, has continued to cause problems for unprotected computer users. Experts at Sophos report that the virus is currently accounting for 72% of all virus reports at Sophos’s global network of monitoring stations in the last 24 hours.

The Zafi-D worm, which is believed to originate from Hungary, spreads inside Christmas emails. The emails can use a variety of different languages including English, French, Spanish and Hungarian. Embedded inside the email is a lewd animated GIF graphic of two “smiley” faces, which may fool some users into thinking the attached virus is a joke program.

“More than one in every ten emails travelling across the internet at the moment is infected with the Zafi-D worm. Although anti-virus protection is available it seems there must be many home users who have been complacent and are allowing their PCs to belch out more and more infected emails,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. “Everyone should consider putting in place automatic anti-virus updates, and a policy of blocking dangerous attachments at the email gateway.”

As well as spreading, the Zafi-D worm attempts to disable anti-virus and firewall protection software on infected computers. The worm also tries to open a backdoor on affected PCs, and attempts to download further malicious code from the internet.

“The danger is that infected PCs could come under the control of remote hackers,” continued Cluley. “Those hackers could use the legions of infected PCs to do whatever they want – destroy data, steal information, launch spam campaigns or distributed denial-of-service attacks. Computer users who are not properly protected would be completely oblivious to what was happening underneath their noses.”

Sophos recommends companies protect their email with a consolidated solution to thwart the virus and spam threats and secure their desktops and servers with automatically updated anti-virus protection.

Further details and images of Zafi-D can be found at:

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