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IT Security Pro Fears Stronger, Super Worms Coming

The threat from malicious Internet worms is about to explode exponentially, a security expert said Thursday as he predicted release of an especially menacing "super worm" in the near future.

"The next super worm is about to hit," said Scott Chasin, chief technology officer of message filtering firm MX Logic and creator of the well-known security discussion group Bugtraq.

The next generation of mass-mailed worms will be even more dangerous than the current malware that plagues corporations and consumers, Chasin warned. Instead of relying on embedded SMTP engines to propagate from one machine to another, the newest threats will use their own peer-to-peer networking technology to not only proliferate but also to communicate with systems infected with other worms, creating a so-called "super worm" that could continue to mutate almost indefinitely.

The best example so far of such capability is Phatbot, said Chasin, a worm that so far has had limited success.

"Phatbot represents the latest and most modern architecture of a worm," said Chasin, because it includes peer-to-peer (P2P) networking technology taken from AOL's Nullsoft development group. The source code for the P2P technology, dubbed WASTE, was made public available last summer, and was put into use by Phatbot.

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