Christmas virus will stuff your PC

Cooks your goose, drives you crackers... insert your favourite pun here...

Net users are being urged to be on their guard against a new virus that promises to deliver a nasty present on Christmas Day. According to California-based online virus doctor, Symantec, which issued the warning today, the payload of the W97M.Prilissa.

A virus is much worse than receiving another pair of socks or a bottle of cheap aftershave. What's more, the virus is reportedly already replicating itself on computers around the world. Experts say W97M.Prilissa.A infects Microsoft Word 97 documents and spreads itself by sending the plagued document as an email attachment using MS Outlook to the first 50 addresses in each address book.

The subject line reads "Message From (username)" followed by "This document is very Important and you've GOT to read this!!!" embedded in the body of the email. When the infected document is opened, W97M.Prilissa.A disables virus protection security settings, conversion confirmation and recently opened file lists. It also virus checks the system date to trigger its payloads.

According to Symantec, the second phase of the virus will be triggered on 25 December. Unless they take the usual remedial action Net users only know if they have the unwanted present when faced with the message: "Vine... Vide... Vice... Moslem Power Never End... You Dare Rise Against Me... The Human Era is Over, The CyberNET Era Has Come!!!"

Symantec says the virus then overlays several coloured shapes onto the opened document, overwrites the AUTOEXEC.BAT file to format the C: drive, and displays the following text when the system is rebooted: "Vine... Vide... Vice... Moslem Power Never End... Your Computer Have Just Been Terminated By -= CyberNET =- Virus!!" Virus watchers will have to wait until Boxing Day to see whether this particular infestation came, saw and conquered. ®

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