MyDoom Virus, Kazaa and the Dangers of Peer-to-Peer

Opening up infected attachments is bad, but this week's global virus attack also underlines the dangers of using Napster-like file sharing services.

This past November, in PC Magazines regular "Security Watch" column, we alerted readers to the dangers of using Kazaa, Morpheus, Grokster and other Napster-like peer-to-peer file sharing services. In using such services, explained columnist Leon Erlanger, you "open up your system to a host of security and privacy threats, including viruses, worms, Trojan horses, snooping, data theft, spyware and more."

This week, as the MyDoom virus wreaks havoc on personal and corporate e-mail systems across the Internet, those words have taken on a new level of urgency. Apparently, MyDoom was originally let loose via Kazaa. And though the virus is propagating predominantly via e-mail messages, it continues to worm its way through the most popular of the peer-to-peer file-sharing services.

Each time the virus infects a Kazaa users machine, it copies itself to the Kazaa download folder, assuming one of the following names: winamp5, icq2004-final, activation_crack, strip-girl-2.0bdcom_patches, rootkitXP, office_crack, or nuke2004. This folder, of course, is shared with the many millions of other people on the Kazaa network, and anyone searching on those names—or something similar—may be fooled into downloading the virus.

Sharman Networks, the owner and distributor of Kazaa, has issued a press release, saying that the applications users are protected from MyDoom thanks to a bundled anti-virus tool from the London-based software vendor BullGuard.


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