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Intel victim of pesky pre-Chrimbo computer virus

Chip giant's staff 'give in to temptation'

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Application security programs and practises

Intel has fallen victim to a pesky new computer virus believed to be from South America.

The "Navidad" virus is not particularly dangerous, just annoying, say security experts. It affects computers using Windows operating system, and arrives as a reply message when a user sends an email to an infected computer.

The email comes with an attachment called "Navidad.exe" - if opened this contains a message in Spanish that reads: "Never press this button". If the user can't resist and presses it anyway, a message pops up saying: "Feliz Navidad. Unfortunately you have given in to temptation and will lose your computer".

The user's computer isn't damaged, according to AP, largely because the virus is believed to be designed for the Spanish version of Windows. But it does place an icon on the computer that looks like an eye and stops most programs from being run.

The program can be stopped manually, and several antivirus companies have come up with software that removes or protects against it.

But security experts are warning emailers to watch out for the virus because it is spreading quickly around big corporations - at least ten Fortune 500 companies have been hit, with many of the infected emails coming from Brazil and Cuba. One security expert told AP that "Navidad" had already caused pre-Christmas headaches for chip giant Intel and petrol company ExxonMobil. ®

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