Home Page virus spreads from Australia to U.S.

Antivirus software vendors Wednesday warned corporations to advise their employees about an e-mail borne computer virus, dubbed "Home Page," that points the victim's Web browser to a pornographic Web site when the e-mail attachment is opened.

The Home Page virus arrives with the subject line "Hi" and the message "You got to see this page, it's really cool." Attached to the message is an HTML.vbs file that when opened, launches the victim's browser to visit any of four porn sites. It also mails itself to other victims by grabbing addresses out of Microsoft Corp.'s Outlook, according to antivirus vendors. The vendors claim the virus has spread rapidly from where it was first noticed in Australia, across the Atlantic and to the U.S.

"Home Page uses the same VBS worm generator as the Anna Kournikova virus, which carried a txt.vbs attachment," says Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos Anti-Virus, which has updated its antivirus software to detect and eradicate Home Page.

While Home Page isn't known to wipe out computer files, the "pain of this virus is the sheer amounts of e-mail it can create," Cluley says. This can result in what amounts to a denial-of-service attack that can bring down mail servers.

Home Page points to www.hardcore.pornbillboard.net, www.members.nbci.com, www.ww2.sexcropolis.com and www.sheila.issexy.tv, but the intent appears random rather than an attempt to generate traffic for any particular Web site, Cluley says. "It's probably just some kid who's created this virus," he says.

Corporations that might fall victim to Home Page should heed the lesson learned in the mammoth LoveBug attack of the past year, which also wreaked havoc with VBS scripts. That lesson is: "You may want to block every VBS file coming into your company," Cluley concluded.

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