A computer worm known as LoveGate was set loose on the computers of the world this past weekend and has been making its way from Asia, Africa, Australia and Europe to the United States. Virus protection software companies have been quick to prepare fixes for the worm and recommend that everyone make sure their anti-virus software is completely up-to-date.
As with so many viruses, the worm appears as an attachment to an e-mail message. When you click on the attachment the worm is unleashed in your computer. It opens a port that allows a remote intruder access to your computer, and it replicates itself by attaching itself to replies it sends to messages in your e-mail inbox.
LoveGate has its own outgoing mail engine, so it doesn't need to use your e-mail software program to send its messages. LoveGate also spreads itself through a network environment, violating all machines in the network.
As of late Monday there had been about 10,000 infections worldwide. While corporations are quick to respond to virus attacks with the latest in anti-virus software and firewalls that prevent hacker access, most home users are more relaxed about virus protection and are more likely to provide a breeding ground for the virus.
Systems that can be infected with the worm include Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Me. Systems that are immune from attack include Windows 3.x, Macintosh, OS/2, UNIX, and Linux.