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Over an eight-hour period Thursday, malicious e-mails were sent across the globe to hundreds of thousands of people, said Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer for F-Secure. People who open the attachment then unknowingly become part of a botnet. A botnet serves as an army of commandeered computers, which are later used by attackers without their owners' knowledge. Storm Worm carries the subject line "230 dead as storm batters Europe,"
Though Storm Worm is widespread, the damage may ultimately be minimal in the U.S. because most tech security companies will have already added it to their blocking list before people get into work, he added. Other e-mail subject lines for it include "U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza..." and "A killer at 11, he's free at 21 and..."