How the "Kama Sutra" worm got its name

Friday's file-destroying worm goes by "Mywife" at Microsoft Corp. and McAfee Inc., "Blackmal" at Symantec Corp. and CA Inc. and "Kama Sutra" in most media reports.

At F-Secure Corp., it is version "E" of "Nyxem," while Sophos PLC says it is version "D." Others variably refer to it as "Kapser," "KillAV," "Grew" or "Blackworm."

The official name? "CME-24."

The moniker may seem much ado about nothing, but security researchers worry that the variance could confuse consumers.

Customers of one vendor's product, for instance, may believe they are protected against "Nyxem.D" when in fact that vendor uses "E."

Or they may hear about "Kama Sutra" but don't realize their product already protects them from "Kapser," prompting phone inquiries that overload support desks.

The confusion partly results from the speed with which worms spread.

"Anti-virus companies when they get a sample need to act on that quickly," said Ken Dunham, director of the rapid response team for VeriSign Inc.'s iDefense. "They don't have time in their competitive environment to be able to go out and coordinate and have a nice little talk" about naming.

Security researchers face many decisions coming up with that initial name.

Often, a new outbreak is a variation of an existing worm, so the vendor will use the next letter in the series, reports AP.


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