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A virus is threatening to strike this Christmas, and it'll do more than put you in bed for a week with only a temperature and a stocking for company. Labelled Win32.Kriz.9862, it may not sound as cool as the Chernobyl bug, but could be just as deadly for those affected, according to news service CNET.com. The virus is set to activate on 25 December, so is set to mess up the holiday plans of all those IT service professionals on standby over the festive period. According to Keith Peer, president of anti-virus company Central Command: "The problem is that if a virus like this gets out into the wild, there are vast amounts of computer users that don’t use virus protection or don’t update their programs regularly. This can be very devastating." Peer warned that security experts knew about the Chernobyl virus in advance, and it still managed to wreck over 300,000 computers in Asia. This Christmas cracker is similar to the Chernobyl strain, according to the experts, in that it will damage the hard drive by trying to override the Flash BIOS, or the guts of the computer. This renders the computer useless until someone fits a new Flash BIOS. However, Richard Thompson, technical director of malicious code research trade group ICSA, said there was no need to panic. "This is a nasty virus, but there are no indications that it has spread. I see nothing in this virus that makes it hard to detect so I expect everyone will have a patch for it within a few days." ®

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