A new worm targeting users of Microsoft's MSN Messenger software has squirmed through the instant messaging (IM) application.
The Jitux.A worm comes in the form of an instant message inviting users to click on a URL (uniform resource locator). By clicking on the URL, users download the jituxramon.exe file, which then becomes resident in their computer's memory and sends new messages containing the link every five minutes to all contacts stored in MSN Messenger.
Jitux.A has no other apparent destructive effects, nor does it cause changes to the system configuration, according to Panda Software. The company was among the first to detect the worm, which began spreading rapidly on Friday, largely in Portugal, Spain and Mexico.
The malicious code is compiled in Visual Basic and runs on Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 200 and XP operating systems.
Several anti-virus vendors, including Network Associates and Symantec, updated their products and recommend users update their anti-virus software and scan for the virus.
Jitux.A isn't the first worm to wiggle into popular instant messaging networks, particularly MSN Messenger. More than 60 IM vulnerabilities have been published, according to security researchers from Symantec. They range from security holes that could be used to crash IM clients in denial of service (DoS) attacks to those that allow attackers to install and run malicious code remotely on computers running the vulnerable IM clients.