Love seekers face danger of new virus

Kiwis seeking love over the internet face danger from a new virus.

Kiwis seeking love over the internet face danger from a new virus.

Spreading faster than Anna Kournikova and the Love Bug, the Matcher.A virus swept into New Zealand this week.

Hundreds of cases were reported across New Zealand, but there were no reports of any serious damage.

Cases appeared across Europe and South Africa on Wednesday, with New Zealand anti-virus software company Trend Micro warning its clients at 1.45am yesterday and releasing a patch some 45 minutes later.

"Because we knew the name of the virus, we could insert a rule base that blocks the virus even before the fix was out," says Rob Hurst, account manager for Wellington-based DMZ Global , a 24 x 7 e-doctor anti-virus service provider that works with Trend Micro.

"We got the patch out and gave it to our clients and by 9.30am; we stopped 300 viruses sent to our clients who were (now) immune. None suffered damage," Hurst says.

While Matcher.A spreads rapidly, it is not as damaging as the Anna K or Love Bug viruses and has been branded "a nuisance".

It is a trojan worm created in Visual Basic 6.0 that disguises itself as a program that will find someone a romantic match.

The email has the message: "Want to find love mates!!!try this its cool...Looks and Attitude Matching to opposite sex."

The virus does not damage an infected computer but is designed to spread quickly by sending itself to everyone in a victim's address book. During system boot it also displays the message "From Bugger" in DOS.

Meanwhile, in Europe, some damage was reported when one French firm shut down its mail system as it became overwhelmed.

Trend Micro offers a free Housecall scanner to remove the virus. Point your browser here.

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