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Virus writers boast about Win 98 virus

by Brian McWilliams, PC World News Radio

June 25, 1998
Web posted at 2:30 PM EDT

(IDG) -- In recent weeks, a number of sightings have been reported of HPS, the first computer virus to affect Windows 98. Despite such reports, Windows 98 may actually be less prone to viruses than Win 95 and MS-DOS.

Earlier this month, Spanish antivirus software maker Panda Software claimed to be the first to identify HPS. On infected machines, the virus activates every Saturday and flips uncompressed bit-map images, such as the Windows 98 start-up screen, producing a kind of mirror effect.

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Windows 98 stories

While HPS can also infect Windows 95 systems, such cross-platform viruses are somewhat rare, according to a virus writer in Madrid who goes by the name of Mister Sandman.

Founder of an international group of virus writers called 29A, Mister Sandman says his group developed a technique a few years ago for ensuring that a virus will replicate or spread on all 32-bit Windows platforms, but not every virus writer knows about it.

Mister Sandman estimates that of the tens of thousands of computer viruses, only 100 or so specifically affect Windows 95 machines, and of those he guesses that only about 10 will work on Windows 98. Besides HPS, which was written ten months ago by a fellow Spaniard and 29A member called GriYo, Mister Sandman says Windows 98 will be susceptible to a virus he wrote called Esperanto.

Esperanto "will work in Windows 95, Windows NT, Windows 3.1, DOS, and also in Macintosh under any version of the operating system," Mister Sandman claims.

Some antivirus software packages are already able to detect HPS and the handful of other viruses that survive on Win 98 systems. Mister Sandman says that later this summer 29A will host an international meeting of virus writers in Madrid, where cross-platform virus-writing techniques will undoubtedly be on the agenda.

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