Virus firm Sophos have discovered a mass-mailing worm that poses as a plea for donations to help with the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster. On a statement on its website the company urges email users to be vigilant.

"The W32/VBSun-A worm spreads via email, tempting innocent users into clicking onto its malicious attachment by pretending to be information about how to donate to a tsunami relief effort. However, running the attached file will not only forward the virus to other internet users but can also initiate a denial-of-service attack against a German hacking website."

Emails sent by the worm have the following characteristics:
Subject line:
Tsunami Donation! Please help!
Message text:
Please help us with your donation and view the attachment below! We need you!
Attachment name:

"Duping innocent users into believing that they may be helping the tsunami disaster aid efforts shows hackers stooping to a new low," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.

W32/VBSun-A is not the first virus to try and take advantage of the tsunami disaster in an attempt to spread. The VBS/Geven-B worm tried to spread a sick message earlier this month that the tsunami was God's revenge on "people who did bad on earth". There have also been a number of email scams distributed by criminals posing as victims in an attempt to steal money.

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