If you receive an e-mail with a text message that contains nothing but an emoticon of a smiley face, delete it fast. Do not download the attachment. It's a new variant of the vicious Bagle virus, called Bagle.AT, Bagle.BB and Bagle.AU, and it's especially virulent. It can infect computers running Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, and XP, but only if you download and open the attachment.
Disguising itself as a joke just begging to be downloaded, the Bagle virus is spreading rapidly across the Internet. Several anti-virus companies have issued high-level warnings because so many people seem to be falling for it and downloading the attachment, reports the BBC News Online. If you do that, it will turn off any security measures you have installed to protect your computer, including the firewall on Windows XP machines.
How to spot the virus:
--Bagle e-mail subject lines include the following:
Re: Thank you!
Re: Thanks :)
--The attachment with the virus code will be labeled as either "joke" or "price."
Bagle steals the e-mail addresses from Microsoft Outlook and then uses them to send itself to new victims. This means you could receive it from someone you know and trust; it also means that even if you don't receive it, the virus could be sent using your e-mail address if someone who has your address in his or her Microsoft Outlook address book gets the virus.