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Tech

Win98 virus available before OS ships

June 19, 1998
Web posted at: 4:56 PM EDT

by Jeff Walsh

From...

(IDG) -- The first virus specifically written for Microsoft Windows 98 is shipping and available before the operating system itself: Windows 98 ships June 25.

HPS (Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome) is a 32-bit polymorphic Windows virus that only activates when the infected system is booted on a Saturday.

The Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome for which the virus is named is a biological disease transmitted by rodents. Its principal symptom is an acute respiratory crisis.

If activated, the computer virus flips any uncompressed bitmaps horizontally, only on Saturdays. This produces a "mirror" effect for many of the screens used within the Windows operating system, according to Virus Bulletin, the Oxfordshire, England-based technical journal that tracks viruses.
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The virus was authored by GriYo, who is referred to as a "notorious member" of the 29A virus-writing group, and is credited with writing the complex Implant virus, according to Virus Bulletin.

GriYo did make the virus backward-compatible, so Windows 95 users need not upgrade to the new OS to experience the same effects.

Panda Software, based in Spain, has already added protection for this virus into its anti-virus software. And according to a Symantec representative, the company is awaiting its sample of the virus and said all anti-virus companies would be adding protection for this virus to their libraries shortly.

Jeff Walsh is a reporter for InfoWorld.

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