Experts Studying Mysterious Internet Attack

JUNE 25, 2004 -- POSTED AT 9:55 AM CDT

CHICAGO, ILL. (AP) -- Government and industry experts are reporting a mysterious, large-scale Internet attack against thousands of popular Web sites. The virus-like infection tries to implant hacker software onto the computers of all Web site visitors.

Industry experts and the Homeland Security Department are studying the infection to determine how it spreads across Web sites and find adequate defenses against it. A government warning says even Web sites trusted by users may contain the ``potentially malicious code.''

The infection appears to target at least one recent version of Microsoft's Internet Information Server, which is popular among businesses and organizations.

The attack's effects are said to be unusually broad, but are not substantially interfering with Internet traffic.

Experts urgently recommended consumers and corporate employees to update the antivirus software on their computers, since the latest versions can immunize visitors to infected Web sites.

The infected Web sites attempt to implant on visitors' computers hacker software that allows others to use their computers to surreptitiously route Internet spam e-mails.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)