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French Version

Viruses that allude the media: Diversion viruses

Two weeks ago, as the world braced itself awaiting the ‘Code Red’ virus to strike, another virus was sneaking up on computers from behind.

Two weeks ago, as the world braced itself awaiting the ‘Code Red’ virus to strike, another virus was sneaking up on computers from behind.

The Sircam virus, another worm which received very little media attention also struck, with devastating effect.

It was a unique case of two major viruses, striking on a global scale, at the same time; and only one of them getting all the publicity.

Why? Well maybe because the media can only handle one virus at a time! Newspapers and TV news editors don’t want to bore the public with two viruses in one week! It almost seemed as if the people behind the Sircam virus had planned to unleash their nasty weapon at a time when people were too caught up in worrying about another virus.

This ‘techno-crime conspiracy’, compounded by lack of mass media attention, resulted in few people being prepared for Sircam, and quite a lot of data loss across the world.

Of course, the media does play an important and useful role in protecting users from virus attacks, but this was case were it allowed another virus to prosper.

Code Red itself was quite vicious, infecting hundreds of thousands of computers, and now it's appearing in new ‘strains’, which open a backdoor that a hacker can use to take over the infected computer. It spreads faster, looking for computers in close proximity or the same network to infect rather than random computers on the Internet, like the earlier version does. Code Red hit computers at the highest levels, including technology companies like Microsoft. It also disrupted some Associated Press services and slowed down high-speed Internet access for AT&T and Qwest customers.

The Code Red worm and mutations of the worm will pose a continuous threat to Internet users. Now, add to that the worry of the Sircam virus, or any other sneaky viruses which the media isn’t telling you about and you’ll be pretty nervous for a while! Constantly updated virus scanning software is the best means of protecting yourself. So far, anti-virus software is keeping up with the latest viruses, but the virus-writers are also getting more intelligent and the ease of spreading a new virus across the Internet has left anti-virus companies behind in many of these attacks. After the virus strikes, or once it’s infected thousands of PCs, you’ll be able to protect your PC with a new anti-viral download. But what happens if you’re one of the first people whose computer was infected by a virus attack! Just hope that you’ve been hit by one of the more ‘famous’ viruses for which antidotes are being introduced, or for which their is a possibility of restoring data lost or damaged.

However, if your PC is hit by a ‘backdoor’ virus, that slipped through the fuss or diversion caused by another viral attack, then you may have to wait longer till anti-virus software catches up with your needs.

These viruses that proliferate due to diversions are making users feel that they’re ‘living dangerously’ these days with viruses attacking from all corners.

Hoaxes, diversions; who knows what_s next. Although some people in the media may find it interesting and exciting, the rest of us are tired of the headaches these _parasitic programs_ are causing. Regrettably, as long as there_ll be computers, there_ll be computer viruses. We might as well learn to live with them.

Zeid Nasser
The Star

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