Most agencies deflect 'Homepage' virus

Most agencies deflect 'Homepage' virus

By William Jackson

GCN Staff


MAY 10—Government agencies dodged a bullet yesterday as the newest fast-spreading Internet worm failed to penetrate most computer systems.

The Homepage worm, created in Visual Basic Script, appeared early Wednesday in Europe, where it spread quickly through corporate networks. It spread as an e-mail with the subject 'Homepage,' and the message, 'Hi! You've got to see this page! It's really cool.' When the attachment HOMEPAGE.HTML.VBS is opened in Microsoft Outlook, the program mails itself to all addresses in the Outlook address book, erases its tracks, and uses Microsoft Internet Explorer to try to open one of four pornographic Web sites.

The worm does no direct damage to the computer or network, but because of its rapid spread it could overwhelm e-mail servers.

'We haven't seen anything [significant] in the United States,' said a spokesman for FedCIRC, the government's computer intrusion response center. 'It has mostly been overseas.'

Antivirus software companies quickly updated their engines to include the new worm profile. Firewalls set to block .EXE and .VBS files stripped the attachment of its harmful payload before it got to the antivirus programs, slowing the worm's spread by the time it hit this country.

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