Attacks Computer Virus Identified

An e-mail virus that exploits the World Trade Center tragedy, disguising itself as a call for peace, circulated Monday on the Internet.

Distribution of the new virus was low, said researchers who warned, however, that it could spread quickly because of its emotionally charged subject.

The e-mail contains the attachment ``WTC.exe'' and a subject line that reads ``Peace between America and Islam.''

The text of the message reads in part, ``Let's Vote To Live in Peace.''

Like many other viruses, this one spreads by mailing copies of itself to addresses stored in Microsoft e-mail software. Unlike others, however, the new virus causes more than a slowdown in Internet traffic. It deletes some files and overwrites some Web pages stored on the hard drive.

According to computer security firms Trend Micro and Symantec, the virus overwrites Web files it finds with the following message: ``AmeRiCa ...Few Days WiLL Show You What We Can Do !!! It's Our Turn ZaCkEr is So Sorry For You.''

Other than the ``WTC.exe'' attachment, the e-mail message looks like hundreds of others that have circulated on the Internet since the deadly Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Virus writers have exploited current events in the past.

In late 1999, several viruses pretended to contain software fixes for the Y2K bug.

Other viruses have tried to trick users into opening — and spreading — dangerous e-mail attachments by disguising themselves as love letters or a photo of teen tennis star Anna Kournikova.