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World Cup virus gives Word users a boot

July 6, 1998
Web posted at: 2:44 PM ET

by Tom Diederich

A malicious macro virus that targets Microsoft Corp.'s Word 97 threatens to wreak havoc on July 12 -- the date the World Cup Soccer games are set to end in France, Panda Software said today.

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The Madrid-based antivirus firm said the virus, W97M/WorldCup98, consists of two macros, dubbed WorldCup98 and Pronostic. Panda said that 40% of the time, the virus adds a message to a user's AUTOEXEC.BAT start-up file along with two lines containing the FORMAT command, which were designed to execute automatically. In 27% of the cases where the virus is found, Panda said, it affects the C:\DOS, C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND directories and the IO.SYS and MS.DOS.SYS files in the C:\ directory. In the remaining 33% of the cases, the current text in use is modified and printed.

If the word processor is opened on July 12 or if the seconds of the internal clock are at 12, the WorldCup98 macro will initiate one of two commands. Half the time, a dialog box appears containing the names of teams competing in the soccer championships. The user will then be prompted to type in his or her favorite team. If the choice coincides with the one the virus program likes, a congratulation screen pops up. Otherwise, a message appears expressing sympathy. The virus executes regardless of the answer and whether or not a response is given, Panda said.

Panda said subscribers to its antivirus services can download an inoculation program for the World Cup virus at

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