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PC virus targets home users

Home PC users were particularly vulnerable to a computer virus that spreading rapidly last week.

BY SUSAN KIM | BALTIMORE | January 20, 2004

Home PC users are particularly vulnerable to a computer virus that was spreading rapidly Tuesday, according to reports from security experts.

The e-mail contains the subject line of "hi," and an attachment with an .exe extension. The body of the e-mail is random words and letters.

The virus called "Bagle" or "Beagle" is capable of gathering millions of e-mail addresses from PCs. It is triggered once a user clicks on the attachment.

Home users are particularly vulnerable but most corporate e-mail filters should be able to block the infected e-mail.

Security experts were theorizing that the virus was created by spammers who will collect the e-mail addresses so they can resell the lists to other spammers.

When the creators of the virus have enough infected computers, they could install invisible e-mail "proxy servers" on those machines and use them to send more spam.

The Bagle virus is similar to the recent viruses "Sobig" and "Mimail." Several virus detection companies have given the Bagle virus their most severe rating.

The virus spread through Asia and Europe before hitting the United States.

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