The W32/VBSun-A worm spreads via e-mail, tempting innocent users into clicking onto its malicious attachment by pretending to be information about how to donate to a tsunami relief effort.
However, running the attached file will not only forward the virus to other internet users but can also initiate a denial-of-service attack against a German hacking website.
E-mails sent by the worm have the “Tsunami Donation! Please help!” subject line, and the “Please help us with your donation and view the attachment below! We need you!” message text. The attachment’s name is “tsunami.exe”.
"Duping innocent users into believing that they may be helping the tsunami disaster aid efforts shows hackers stooping to a new low," said Graham Cluley, Sophos senior technology consultant.
"This gruesome insensitivity is a despicable ploy to get curious computer users to run malicious code on their computers. Everyone should be wary of unsolicited e-mail attachments," he said.
W32/VBSun-A is not the first virus to try and take advantage of the tsunami disaster in an attempt to spread. The VBS/Geven-B worm tried to spread a message earlier this month that the tsunami was God's revenge on "people who did bad on Earth".
There have also been a number of e-mail scams distributed by criminals posing as victims in an attempt to steal money.
Sophos said that so far there have only been a small number of reports of the W32/VBSun-A worm.