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Think with that organ above the shoulders

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We are our own worst enemies when it comes to infection with computer viruses, but lessons do seem to be being learned.

The most frequently reported type of virus is the script virus, such as the Lovebug and Kakworm. In fact, Kakworm was the most reported virus this year, outstripping the infamous Lovebug.

Script viruses only account for around six per cent of all those released, but infect the greatest number of systems.

Virus writers use various tricks and lures to entice victims to open attachments which allow the viruses to run, said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at anti-virus outfit Sophos. An old favourite is to name the file to suggest that it contains porn. "People need to start thinking with their heads, instead of their trousers," he said.

Couldn't have put it better myself.

The most prevalent type is the macro virus; but, according to Cluley these only account for 16.7 per cent of infections - less than half those caused by malicious scripts.

"This is probably because people are wary of MS Word attachments," he said. "Macros have been around since 1995, so people don't open the files."

But the bottom line, Cluley said, is that if we were all vigilant in maintaining our virus detection software, and implemented patches as they became available, virus writers would not have such an easy time of it.

"Anyone can goof," he said. "The thing about the recent Microsoft hack was that it reminded us that everyone is vulnerable to attack if even one person makes a mistake." ®

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