New Zealand's leading internet service provider has moved urgently to install filtering systems designed to protect
customers from the new “life_stages” email virus which is striking computer systems around the world.
Xtra is also making information on how to deal with the virus available to anyone in the internet community at
Sales and Marketing Manager Kevin Kenrick says Xtra is filtering out emails suspected of carrying the virus in a bid to
stop it spreading.
“But we are also urging customers to take their own precautions, by not opening any attachments called “life_stages”,
and by ensuring their anti-virus software is up-to-date,” Mr Kenrick says.
Xtra security staff monitoring the progress of the virus put filters in place at 1530 yesterday afternoon, and at that
stage the filters were detecting suspected copies of the virus at an average rate of 15 per minute.
By 0900 this morning Xtra had filtered out 3,954 suspected copies of the virus, and was detecting them at an average
rate of 4.5 per minute.
Mr Kenrick says the virus is a worm that appears to spread in a manner similar to the “LoveBug” virus which struck in
“The email sent by the worm has various titles, but at this stage the attachment always appears as “life_stages.txt”.
However there is a second, invisible “.shs” extension,” he says.
Running the attachment will open a notepad and display a joke about the male and female stages of life, but meanwhile
the worm begins running in the background.
The worm spreads itself using Microsoft Outlook, and ICQ and IRC chat software.
Xtra security staff are monitoring for further mutations.