The virus did not cause harm to data stored on computers but did threaten to overload systems in the sending of bulk e-mails.
People who received the e-mail could be fooled into thinking that a friend had intentionally sent them a picture of the tennis star. If they opened the attachment, they would launch a Visual Basic Script program that forwarded the e-mail to everyone in their address book if they used either Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express.
The virus was created using a simple and widely available Visual Basic Worm Generator developed by an Argentinian programmer called “[K]Alamar”.
Using the name “OnTheFly”, the self-proclaimed author of the Anna Kournikova virus yesterday posted a letter of confession on the internet, addressed from the Netherlands. He writes:
“Last week I read an article about some research (www.idc.com) about the impact of the LoveLetter-virus. The title of that artikle says enough: IDC: internetters hebben niets geleerd van I Love You (wich means in English: Surfing people haven’t learned anything from the I Love You-virus)
“I think IDC is right. I also think that you agree with me, according to the rate of spreading….Maybe this is also Anna’s blame, she is so pretty..J
“Last thing I’d like to say is that I never wanted to harm the people you opened the attachment. But after all: it’s their own fault they got infected with the AnnaKournikova virus, OnTheFly virus or watever they call it.
“To get rid of that virus, please visit the regular anti-virus sites. They all have some antdote right now.”
The virus differs from last year’s Love Bug virus in that it did not corrupt data on the infected computer. John Leyden of news site TheRegister.co.uk observed that, “Much like the tennis star herself, the Anna Kournikova worm created a lot of interest and attention when it hit the Net – but lacks anything like a powerful smash.”
The spread of the virus has been considerably smaller-scale than the Love Bug virus which, contrary to the IDC’s claim, suggests that people are more cautious of e-mail attachments and that offices have taken steps to improve their system security.