A computer virus, disguised as an official-looking e-mail from a Brainerd/Baxter-based Internet provider, is now circulating throughout the World Wide Web, in an attempt to wreak havoc on computer systems.
Bob Olson, manager of network engineering at CTC Internet, said Wednesday this computer virus came to the firm's attention Tuesday.
He warns computer users, particularly CTC Internet customers, to not open this infected e-mail's .zip drive file, which contains the virus.
The hoax e-mail's subject line reads, "Warning about your e-mail account."
The e-mail begins with, "Dear user of 'Brainerd.net' mailing system. Some of our clients complained about the spam outgoing from your e-mail account. Probably, you have been infected by a proxy-relay trojan server. In order to keep your computer safe, follow the instructions. For more information, see the attached file."
The e-mail goes on to say that the attached file, Readme1.zip, is password protected and includes the password. The e-mail concludes with, "Best wishes, The Brainerd.net team."
The worldwide e-mail virus is a version of the Bagle virus, or specifically, w32/Bagle.j@mm.
Olson said CTC Internet has now temporarily blocked the receipt of all .zip files, including this computer virus e-mail, as a precautionary measure for its more than 7,500 Brainerd.net e-mail customers. But some customers may still have received the virus earlier this week.
E-mail users who planned to send e-mail to Brainerd.net customers should not include .zip files because they will not receive them right now.
Olson said his company has contacted other Internet service providers in the area who also have received the infected e-mail. CTC Internet does have the definition files up to date to block the virus. He said e-mail users should download these files for virus protection from the Web site of their software programs that provide protection against computer viruses. He said it is important that Microsoft Windows XP users keep their system up to date to block computer hackers from putting something in their computer that they aren't aware of, like these viruses.
Olson said CTC Internet processes about 22,000 e-mail messages per hour. Of those messages, 85 percent are computer viruses or spam. The company blocks about 18,000 messages an hour, he said.
"We're working hard to minimize the effect," said Olson. "One snuck through."
Olson said CTC Internet spends about $100,000-$150,000 a year just to try to control spam and viruses on the Internet.
For more information, contact CTC Internet at 829-3532.
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