Chernobyl, the 3-year-old virus that radiated thousands of systems across the globe when it struck in 1999, is set to trigger today, according to antivirus-software vendors. Chernobyl is a hybrid of the CIH virus. Its name refers to the anniversary of the infamous Chernobyl nuclear power-station disaster 15 years ago.
The virus infects Windows 95 and 98 executable files once they are run. The virus makes its home in memory and infects files as they are opened or copied. Living up to its moniker, Chernobyl is a particularly vicious virus that can delete entire hard drives and corrupt a system's BIOS, leaving the system dead.
While damage estimates vary for Chernobyl's financial damage during its most damaging wave in 1999, worldwide costs probably exceeded $1 billion as millions of systems lost data.
"It's not going to hit very hard this year because most of the initial virus spread was eliminated after the first hit two years ago," says CBL Data Recovery Technologies Virus Alert Centre manager Jermey Brooks. "Last year, even fewer computers with valuable data were affected because users took precautions beforehand by installing antivirus software. But noncorporate users ... could still be at risk this year if they have not taken safeguards to protect their data."
Users need not be a nuclear physicist to avoid a Chernobyl meltdown today. They can just scan systems with antivirus software, and, as always, back up early and often.
For more virus information:
Windows 2000 Represents A Quantum Leaphttp://www.informationweek.com/834/winsec.htm Security Resource Center http://www.informationweek.com/center/entman.htm