Computer users are on the alert for emails that contain the highly destructive virus known as Kama Sutra, Nyxem, Blackworm or Blackmal, a highly destructive worm set to attack on Friday, February 3, that attempts to disable security software programs intended to protect the computer and overwrites and permanently corrupts files ranging from Word and Excel documents to PDFs of digital family photos. Already estimated to have infected more than a half million computers worldwide, this virus carries with it several especially malicious twists: The worm doesn’t simply replicate and distribute itself, the virus attempts to lower the security settings and disable anti-virus software plus it overwrites and destroys files. In addition, the virus may already have infected a person’s PC without them knowing it because it won’t cause damage until the first Friday of the month, which is tomorrow.

“The Kama Sutra or Nyxem virus is damaging and deceiving because it does not immediately attack a computer, but waits until the first Friday of the month and then strikes with a vengeance, destroying files, harvesting email addresses, disabling anti-virus programs and spreading itself throughout an infected system,” explained M. Fahim Siddiqui, CEO of Sereniti, Inc., a home computer security and networking service provider. “The best protection is two fold: First, never, ever open an email or an attachment that is not familiar. Second, make sure the anti-virus program protecting your computer is absolutely up-to-date. This will stop the virus at the point of entry to your PC. Computer users should update their PC security software and complete a virus scan immediately — before this virus activates tomorrow.”

Fahim pointed out that worms such as Kama Sutra can send out emails automatically from a friend’s infected computer, making it look as though you are receiving a normal correspondence. “Emails containing the Kama Sutra virus often contain sexually suggestive subject lines. This should be a red flag to delete this email without opening,” he said.

Many home PC users fail to update their computer security software regularly or they may presume the software does so automatically, leaving computers vulnerable. Sereniti offers a subscription-based, all-in-one solution for home computer security, networking, maintenance and tech support called the Sereniti Smart Home Network Service. In addition to automatically updating the Sereniti Security Suite, the Sereniti Smart Home Network Service will monitor other third party security programs and alert computer users when that software needs updating.

“Most households wouldn’t go to work in the morning or go to bed at night without locking the front door to their house, yet they will leave their computers and personal data open to significant threats because they fail to perform the most crucial and basic maintenance — keeping anti-virus programs up-to-date. The Sereniti service updates our security software automatically, while also providing 24/7 tech support in the event of a problem on the home network and $25,000 in free identity theft insurance,” said Fahim. He further noted that backing up critical, irreplaceable files including family financial records, other important documents, photos and music collections can also spare home computer users a lot of anguish.