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Atak worm variant linked to al-Qaida

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A second variant of the Atak worm, which goes to sleep to avoid detection by antivirus software, has been linked to an al-Qaida sympathizer who once threatened to release a powerful worm if the United States attacked Iraq.


Romanian antivirus company Bitdefender claims the worm's author has signed his nickname into an encrypted part of the worm's code.


Mihai Radu, communications manager at BitDefender, said the virus, discovered Friday, is signed by Melhacker, which is the moniker of a Malaysian-based coder called Vladimor Chamlkovic, who in 2002 threatened to release an "uber-worm" if the United States attacked Iraq.


Mikko Hypponen, director of antivirus research at Finnish company F-Secure, said it is possible that Melhacker wrote Atak.B but that doesn't mean it has anything to do with al-Qaida.


"I think there's no proof anywhere that Melhacker is in any way associated with al-Qaida. He might want to be, though," said Hypponen.


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