The Bubbleboy virus - the latest virus to throw the PC world into panic - does not affect Macs, according to anti-virus software experts Symantec and McAfee.

Bubbleboy is a worm that works under the English and Spanish version of Windows 98 and Windows 2000 operating systems, according to Symantec.

It uses a security hole in Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express, when used with Internet Explorer 5, to insert a script file when the email is viewed. The script file changes the registered user’s name to "Bubbleboy", and the registered organization to "Vandelay Industries", and then sends the worm to everyone in the MS Outlook address book.

While the worm is relatively harmless, experts are worried that it marks the beginning of a more dangerous strain of virus because, for the first time, it infects PCs without the user having to open an email attachment.

Microsoft has released a patch for Internet Explorer 5 that prevents the worm from executing under default security settings.