Check antivirus software for protection against Chernobyl

Check antivirus software for protection against Chernobyl

By William Jackson

GCN Staff

APRIL 25—Tomorrow, the 14th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Russia, is the day the Chernobyl computer virus will activate on infected PCs running Microsoft Windows 9x operating systems.

Chernobyl variants of the CIH virus, which first appeared in 1998, also can appear on the 26th of any month, but the most destructive version activates April 26. It spreads via an executable file and resides in memory, infecting other executed files.

According to the Computer Emergency Response Team at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Chernobyl tries to erase the hard drive and overwrite the system BIOS. It destroys its own code in the process of overwriting, effectively limiting its spread.

Antivirus vendor F-Secure Corp. of San Jose, Calif., estimated the virus caused data loss on 2 million computers last year. Most virus experts do not expect as much damage this year, because up-to-date antivirus software disinfects systems with the virus.

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