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Careless Sage spreads virus

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Accountancy software firm Sage has found itself at the centre of allegations that its email system is indiscriminately distributing a macro virus hidden within attached documents. The problem occurs when Microsoft Word documents are sent out as email attachments by Sage staff. It labels recipients as big stupid jerks. Users both inside and outside the Geordie software specialist found themselves caught out when they closed the attachments. "I think [user's name appears here] is a big stupid jerk," flashes up on the screen. Sage was swift to admit they had fallen victim to this "embarrassing" virus and claimed that it had in no way originated from within the UK company. But even if it came from outside Sage, it throws a question mark over the integrity of the company's own network security and virus detection procedures. A Sage representative said: "This is definitely not a Sage virus. Basically, people have been sending Word documents to us, passing on the virus." She confirmed that Sage staff, including some directors, were yesterday called "jerks" after the company's virus scan had been unable to diagnose the infection. But she vowed: "Our IT department is tracking it and we will find the source." She said it was annoying rather than dangerous, and would not corrupt data. However, caution should be taken. The virus is expected to resurface in six months' time, on 14 June 1999, when it will write over all the documents it has infected this time round. ®

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