A computer virus that may leave Microsoft Windows users vulnerable to digital hijacking is spreading through companies in the United States, Europe and Asia, already infecting close to nine million machines, according to a private online security firm.
Fortunately, however, it may be a dud.
Though computer bugs have become a common affliction, Finland-based F-Secure said a virus it has been tracking for the past few weeks has surged more rapidly through corporate networks than anything they have seen in years.
But the virus does not appear to be working as its designers intended. F-Secure's chief security adviser, Patrik Runald, said the virus's coding suggests a type of bug that alerts computer users to bogus infections on their machines and offers to help by selling them antivirus software.
Instead, the computer virus is simply spreading to little effect, though it may still pose a threat to infected computers.
"The gang behind this worm haven't used it yet," F-Secure's chief research officer, Nikko Hypponen said by phone. "But they could do anything they like with any of these machines at any time."