Tis the Virus Season

Chat room users find new Y2K virus, and it's spreading

It’s beginning to look a lot like virus season. Experts warned the Y2K bug would be a sure target for millennium virus makers and they were right. There’s a new virus that can update itself and affects home computers.

Computer security experts are calling this the "W95.Babylonia virus" and it comes disguised as a Y2K fix. The virus takes advantage of chat rooms and makes home computer users most prone to infection.

Here’s how it works: when an infected user logs on to a chat room using MIRC software, the virus gets sent as a Y2K bug fix to anyone else in that chat room. If the user accepts the software, the virus will install itself and later obtain several files from Japan. Those files carry instructions affecting the user’s computer. The virus writer can effectively control the infected computer remotely.

This is the first of its kind and very worrisome to security experts who are concerned about the virus’ ability to ad new capabilities as it moves along. Because this virus is spread through chat rooms, experts say you should turn off any auto-download feature on your computer.

This is the sixth known millennium virus taking advantage of the Year 2000 glitch. There are three viruses known to trigger in the New Year and three others spread by posing as Y2K software and act immediately. Just a few days ago experts detected one virus timed to erase disks on January 1 by posing as a Y2K problem.

Computer security experts say now is the time to take every precaution necessary to protect your private files. Experts are expecting a new Y2K virus at least every couple of days between now and the end of the year.

Source: Associated Press

DATE: 12/8/99

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