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Worm Wars

The worm blitz that started last Friday and showed no signs of ceasing Wednesday stepped up a notch as security analysts probing the code of recent malware discovered an obscenity-laced dialog between battling hacker factions.

According to analysis done by several antivirus companies, including Central Command, Sophos, and Finnish-based F-Secure, profanity-plagued messages between the creators of the latest Netsky, Bagle, and MyDoom variations are embedded in the worms' code.

Inside Bagle.j, the eighth variant to debut since Friday, and which first showed up Tuesday, is text taunting Netsky. Within Bagle.k, a new variant that appeared Wednesday, is similar text, said Sophos. Netsky.f, another worm discovered Wednesday, sports a retort, according to analysis by F-Secure. Tucked inside its code is the line "Skynet AntiVirus--Bagle--you are a looser!!!"

Even the MyDoom worm family got into the act; within MyDoom.g--a close copy of the original MyDoom loosed on the Internet late Tuesday--is an attack on Netsky's creators.

Calling the back-and-forth the first major global "cyber war" between hackers, security firm Central Command noted that the person or persons responsible for each of the three worm families involved--Bagle, Netsky, and now MyDoom--are battling for control of a huge army of Windows computers that have been compromised by infections, which have opened ports and installed backdoor components on the systems.

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