(San Jose, California-AP) -- An e-mail worm has been fouling up
computers around the world today. The worm looks like a normal error message but actually contains a malicious program. Security experts say it's the largest virus-like outbreak in months. MessageLabs Incorporated -- which scans e-mail for viruses -- says one in every 12 messages contained the worm, called "Mydoom" or "Novarg." A manager at a research company in Finland estimates as many as
300,000 computers may have been hit worldwide. The worm started spreading quickly during business hours in the United States today. Many previous outbreaks had started during Asian business hours, allowing antivirus vendors to develop defenses by the time US companies opened up shop. The worm infects computers using Microsoft's Windows operating systems, though other computers were affected by network slowdowns and a flood of bogus messages.