New Computer Worm Named After Pop Star


A computer worm named after teenage pop singer Avril Lavigne continued to spread Thursday, antivirus companies said.

The mass-mailing worm, called Avril or Lirva, spreads via e-mail and also through ICQ, Kazaa and mIRC, according to F-Secure. The worm also tries to spread through open shares and Windows network drives.

The worm carries various subject lines, including "FW: Avril Lavigne--the best," and when its attachment is opened, it tries to disable antivirus programs, vendors said.

F-Secure said Thursday that the worm "continued to spread worldwide at a steady pace" and a new version of it appeared to be spreading even faster.

Network Associates rated the worm as medium threat, while Symantec rated it a low threat.

"Ms. Lavigne is just the latest in a long line of pop idols and celebrities to be used as bait by virus writers," said Carole Theriault, consultant at antivirus vendor Sophos, in a statement.

Two years ago, a worm spread rapidly with an attachment that masqueraded as an image of Russian tennis star Anna Kournikova.