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With the clock ticking on a Feb. 3 D-Day for the activation of the destructive ‘Blackworm’ worm payload, anti-virus vendors are rushing to release free removal tools to help contain the damage.

The worm, also known as Kama Sutra, MyWife.E or Nyxem.E, uses the lure of sexually explicit photographs to trick e-mail users into executing an attachment that contains a payload capable of permanently corrupting a number of common document format files.

Microsoft has already issued an advisory with pointers to its Windows Live Safety Center, which offers a free scanner that detects and removes the worm.

The company’s malicious software tool will be updated with signatures for ‘Blackworm’ and released on Feb. 14.

Although volunteer security researches have already notified ISPs about possible customer infections and have issued warnings all week, it is likely the major damage has already been contained.

Urgent alert raised for ‘Blackworm’ D-Day. Click here to read more.

Because the worm uses a Web-based counter to keep track of infections, virus hunters figured out that a maximum of 300,000 computers were contaminated. It is likely that some of those have already been cleaned, experts say.

Read the rest of this eWEEK story: “Free Removal Tools Released as ‘Blackworm’ Approaches”