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A look at the "Mydoom' worm

What is it? A computer worm disguised as an innocent-looking e-mail error message.

How does it infect a computer? By clicking open its attachment (with file extensions of .bat, .cmd, .exe, .pif, .scr or .zip), a secretive program is launched. No infection is possible unless the attachment is opened.

What does it do? It plants a program that allows its creator to take control of the computer. Once under remote control, it can be used to send spam e-mail.

What computers are affected? The worm targets most Windows systems. Macintosh, Linux and Unix are not affected.

Will virus software stop it? Yes, up-to-date antivirus programs should stop it. Home users should update their programs as soon as possible.

What if my machine is infected? Run your antivirus software. Removal instructions for those who do not have antivirus software, and detailed information about the worm, is available at: avcenter/venc/data/w32.novarg. amm.html.

_ Staff and wire service reports