NEW YORK -- A computer virus pretending to be an electronic photo of blond teen-age tennis star Anna Kournikova overwhelmed e-mail servers throughout Europe and North America on Monday.
The virus slowed down e-mail systems and forced some companies to shut down their e-mail altogether while they cleaned out the rogue program. Security experts said the virus does not permanently damage computers.
Within a few hours, the virus had managed to spread almost as rapidly as last May's "I Love You" virus, which caused tens of millions of dollars in damage worldwide. More computers could be infected on Tuesday in Asia.
"Everybody and their brother and sister in law are infected with this thing," said David Perry, director of public education at Trend Micro Inc. "Last year, everybody wanted to be loved. Apparently many people want to see a JPEG (picture) of Anna Kournikova."
The virus, which appears to have originated in Europe, comes as an attachment named "AnnaKournikova.jpg.vbs" and carries the message "Hi: Check This!" But it does not actually contain a photo of the tennis star.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.