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Virus spreads on Google's Orkut network

Google is addressing a virus spreading on its social network and a new Trojan hijacking Google text advertisements.

About 400,000 members of Google's Orkut social network have been the victims of a spam barrage spreading the W32/KutWormor virus.

The virus is hidden in a spam message containing a New Year's greeting in Portuguese. Once infected the virus spreads using hidden JavaScript and Flash code by sending the same message to connected Orkut members. It also adds the victim to an Orkut community group called "Infected by Orkut Virus."

Vinay Mahadik, of McAfee's Avert Labs wrote in a blog entry that the virus appears harmless and doesn't seem to affect the victim's machine in any way. Google's Orkut team also appears to be fighting back against the propagation of the virus.

Meanwhile, analysts with security vendor BitDefender have detected a new Trojan that hijacks Google text advertisements, replacing them with ads from a different provider. Trojan.Qhost.WU modifies the infected computer's hosts file. The modified file contains a line of code that causes the browser to read ads from a server at the given replacement address rather than from Google.

"This is a serious situation that damages users and Webmasters alike," said Attila-Mihaly Balazs, a BitDefender virus analyst, in a statement. "Users are affected because the advertisements and/or the linked sites may contain malicious code, which is a very likely situation, given that they are promoted using malware in the first place. Webmasters are affected because the Trojan takes away viewers and thus a possible money source from their websites."

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