Computer security companies are warning that a serious computer virus is scheduled to hit Windows based computers this Christmas.
Win32.Kriz.9862 is a memory resident Windows virus that will replicate itself on Windows 95, 98, and NT systems, infecting Windows programs with EXE (executable) and SCR (screen savers) filename extensions.
It will also infect the Windows KERNEL32.DLL system library that enables viruses to stay in the computer's memory during an entire Windows session.
Such an attack could potentially erase PCs' Cmos memory information, which includes date and time functions, and would also try and erase data on the hard disk. It could also destroy the Flash Bios by emulating the Chernobyl virus, which prevents users from rebooting their systems.
Sal Viveros, Network Associates' group marketing manager, also said the virus contained a profane, anti religious message.
But because there are still four months to go before 25 December, most experts believe they have plenty of time to develop fixes and both Central Command and Network Associates said they had already updated their antivirus software to detect protect against the virus.
Keith Peer, president of security company, Central Command, pointed out, however, that although security experts were well aware of the Chernobyl virus before it struck, it was still troublesome, particularly in Asia.
But this is not the first virus that Wintel users have been subjected to this year. The self replicating Melissa virus generated lots of publicity, but was relatively harmless as it did not delete any files. It simply clogged up email programs with lists of pornographic Web content.
In June, PCs were also attacked by the WinExploreZip worm. The worm, which did not automatically replicate, disguised itself as a friendly piece of email, but was more destructive than Melissa because it could destroy files if users opened the relevant email attachment.
A study by Computer Economics estimated that businesses worldwide lost a total of $7.6 billion in the first two quarters of 1999 due to Melissa, WinExploreZip and other viruses. This was the result of lost productivity following computer downtime and the expense of dealing with the attacks.
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