Hackers Use Bird Flu Virus to Spread Computer Virus

Computer hackers are exploiting fears over bird flu by releasing a computer virus attached to an email passing itself off as containing avian flu information, warned Spanish computer firm Panda Software.

The virus Naiva.A masquerades as a word document with email subject lines such as "Outbreak in North America" and "What is avian influenza (bird flu)?," said the firm on its Web site

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When the file is opened, the virus modifies, creates and delete files. A second part of the virus installs a program that allows hackers to gain remote control of infected computers.

The firm said the virus can not spread on its own but needs to be manually distributed via email, Internet downlaods or file transfers.

"They fake the email header so it looks like it comes from somewhere that's authoritative," Australian computer security specialist Allan Bell said on Tuesday. It is from the 'government' urging your cooperation .

Bell said he had no reports of the virus in Australia.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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