A potentially devastating virus emerged last week, threatening to unleash the kind of widespread disruption the PC industry experienced last year with Sobig.F. But the Bagle.a virus, alternatively called Beagle and Bagel, petered out rather quickly this week after infecting hundreds of thousands of computers, according to security experts. The virus is categorized as a mass-mailing virus, which means that it replicates by spreading through email attachments.
But Bagle.a might be just the first in a series of related electronic attacks, and experts from Network Associates and Symantec are warning their customers to be on the lookout for permutations of the virus, which might be more virulent. The original versions of Sobig, for example, caused few problems, but Sobig.F was the fastest-spreading computer virus of all time, affecting millions of systems in September 2003. Bagle.a expires next week, leading some experts to believe that newer strains will materialize in a short period of time.
Bagle.a appears in email messages as an attachment and does nothing to hide the fact that it's up to no good. The body of the email looks like this:
The attachment is always 15,872 bytes and can be renamed to virtually any name. For more information and removal instructions, visit the McAfee Web site.