The Santy worm, which originally flared up a week ago as bulletin board Web sites found their pages erased and defaced by the worm's own text, has begun to spread using both Google and other search engines. Originally spreading by Google alone, Santy variants are now making the rounds using AOL and Yahoo search technologies, whilst still making use of Google where possible.

"Perl.Santy.B is a worm written in Perl script that attempts to spread to Web servers running versions of the phpBB 2.x bulletin board software prior to 2.0.11. It uses AOL or Yahoo search to find potential new infection targets."

Experts warned that other variants of Santy are also popping up. Santy.c still targets Google, whereas Santy.d and Santy.e differ in many ways from earlier versions. Opinion seems to indicate that Google could have done more and should be doing more to help combat this problem.

AOL, which uses Google for its underlying search technology, said on Tuesday that its search engine should benefit from whatever protective measures Google implemented.