A worm has hit users of Microsoft MSN Messenger software across Portugal, Spain and Mexico.
Jitux.A comes in the form of an instant message inviting users to click on a URL which downloads the jituxramon.exe file. The file then becomes resident in their computers' memory and sends new messages containing the link every five minutes to all contacts stored in MSN Messenger.
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Madrid-based Panda Software, one of the first anti-virus companies to detect the worm, said the virus has no other apparent destructive effects, nor does it cause changes to the system configuration.
The malicious code is compiled in Visual Basic and runs on Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 200 and XP operating systems.
Several antivirus suppliers, including Network Associates and Symantec, updated their products and have recommended users update their antivirus software and scan for the virus.
Jitux.A is not the first worm to wiggle into popular instant messaging networks, particularly MSN Messenger. More than 60 IM vulnerabilities have been published, according to security researchers from Symantec. They range from security holes that could be used to crash IM clients in denial-of-service attacks to those that allow attackers to install and run malicious code remotely on computers running vulnerable IM clients.
John Blau writes for IDG News Service