Since I run Ubuntu after a worm ate my Windows and Microsoft wouldn’t let me reinstall my OS without a disc, I’m probably safe, but for the rest of you guys, the growing threat is Stormworm.

It’s a worm/Trojan that enters your computer via an innocent looking email, and then sits there…only some computers will send it on, in other computers it merely morphs.

It’s been around for a year, and is deeply embedded in the Windows OS of perhaps 50 million computers. Whereas other worms are mainly irritating and made by hackers as an annoyance or joke, this one is so sophisticated that cybersecurity experts think it was made by professional Russian hackers.

And what does it do? It makes your computer send out spam emails

A PC infected with Storm will either be used to blast out millions of junk e-mails advertising Web links that when clicked attempt to download a copy of the worm, or it will serve as the destination for that link — essentially hosting the latest copy of the worm for download. Ever since its release in January, the Storm worm has been used almost exclusively either to spread the worm or to tout penny stocks in “pump-and-dump” investment scams. Recently, however, security experts have spotted evidence that the Storm network is being rented out to online pharmacy spammers as well.

So why should I worry if someone is using my computer to send out Viagra advertisements? Well, if I’m a business, it costs me money, to begin with.  But what worries experts is that this might be a test of a more dangerous variation of a future virus.

As Bruce Schneider of Wired Magazine writes:

Personally, I’m worried about what Storm’s creators are planning for Phase II.

After seeing the security worries at our hospital about the Y2K turnover, I’m worried too. At that time, we had generators and food and medicine stockpiled in our rural hospital, just in case…and nothing happened.

Diehard 4.0, anyone?


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket. 




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