Have you got worms?

Virus scare story of the week

It's been at least a fortnight since the world was last ravaged by a flesh-eating computer virus. So fret no more. Today, we've all got to get on our hands and knees and watch out for a blood sucking worm that will trash your computer faster than a goose with the squits. The ExploreZip or ZippedFiles worm has already drilled down into thousands of PCs in the US, Europe and Far East, and experts are warning it could spread around the world in a matter of hours. As hysteria broke out in all the world's major financial centres PC users were being advised not to panic. But how do you know if you've got worms? The attachment looks like a WinZip archive file and when you try to unzip it you will get a fake error message indicating a corrupted file. Spreading like a chain letter, the worm will then try to delete your files on any accessible disk drives, including all network drives which could be potentially very damaging for businesses. The files at risk are Microsoft Word documents, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, Microsoft PowerPoint presentations and certain programming source files. Once it's wormed its way into your system and wreaked havoc it will then attach itself to your email and attack other people in your address book. "This seems to be spreading fast, but not as fast as Melissa," said Mikko Hypponen, manager of anti-virus research at Data Fellows Corporation. "The key issue here is that messages sent by ZippedFiles are very credible—they are very normal-looking replies to messages you have sent earlier. "You're quite likely to trust these messages and open the attachment," he said. De-worming tablets are available from Datafellows or any good pet shop. ®

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