Melissa virus targeted by UK retail giant

WH Smith Web site offers help as a new virus looms on the horizon

More than a week after she first hit the headlines, Melissa has caught the eye of a leading UK company. WH Smith, the Great Satan of high-street booksellers, is offering an antidote to anyone bitten by the Melissa bug through a free 30-day trial of anti-virus software. The high street giant is offering a trial version of Symantec’s Norton AntiVirus as a download from its Web site. Although the virus was discovered promptly and many companies took evasive action straight away, a leading UK computer security guru is warning against complacency. Neil Barrett, security consultant at Bull, with the delightfully charming job title of IT Fellow, said almost everyone using computers was still at risk. "It is a great threat to those who fall into the category of the most vulnerable – those using Internet access and Office ’97. People need to take precautions." And according to Barrett, there is worse to come. A more dangerous virus is due to hit machines later this month. Called the CIH virus, this new bug actually trashes the PC’s hard disk. It is set to trigger on April 26. ® See earlier story.

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