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A relatively harmless worm has rampaged through Google's social network, Orkut. You probably haven't noticed. That's because Orkut, while popular in Brazil and India, is an also-ran in the U.S. Hundreds of thousands of Orkut users saw their accounts overwhelmed by spam on their "scrapbooks," Orkut's equivalent of Facebook's Wall.

The worm reportedly uses JavaScript and Flash code to create a new scrapbook entry, containing a New Year's message in Portuguese accompanied by a Flash ad. Once infected, the code propagates to your friends on the network, simply by their visiting your profile page. The worm may be related to a similar vulnerability discovered last year and supposedly fixed by Google, but details are scarce. It appears Google has responded quickly. Too bad. If Google had let the worm rampage, maybe some American users might actually hear about Orkut for the first time.