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Bugbear is a 2002 virus that has been responsible for thousands of cases of virus hacking that involve exploiting Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express to install a keylogger on personal and business computers. This is one of several similar viruses that enters the computer through an attachment to an email.
Bugbear is also known as Tanatos.
In Bugbear, the virus code is automatically installed when the email is viewed, even on the MS Outlook preview page. Bugbear shows up with email subject lines that may seem legitimate to a user, although many have learned to recognize these types of spam, and delete these messages instead of opening them. Many security experts consider Bugbear a "classic virus" in that it was a major threat around ten or twelve years ago, but has now been largely replaced by more sophisticated methods that can get by modern spam filters.
In terms of its actual operations, Bugbear is more of a security threat than the type of virus that simply crashes systems and deletes files—there are components of this virus are of great concern to security experts. First, Bugbear auto-generates lists of additional recipients when it is installed. Worse yet, in addition to the keylogger, where hackers can view passwords and other sensitive input, there’s a backdoor to files and networks, which can leave an entire LAN open to spying. One other important security aspect of Bugbear is that it can actually target anti-virus and firewall programs, attempting to stall or close down their operations, leading some to dub this an "anti-anti-virus."