Computer Virus a Software Nightmare

By Brian Werth, Sunday Herald-Times

Other than taking a direct lightning hit or spilling acid on your hard drive, a computer virus is about the worst thing that can happen to a personal computer.

Viruses are small, hard-to-detect programs that disrupt the normal operation of a computer, erasing data or scrambling a system's configuration.

And recently, a new strain that infects Macintosh computers has found its way to Indiana, destroying files, programs and hard drives along the way.

Christina Deegan, of Blackberry Press in Bloomington and the secretary of the Serious Macintosh Users Group, has had experience with the "Hong Kong Flu" virus - and wishes she hadn't.

"It's the worst one ever seen in the Mac environment,” she said. "The word needs to get out. Prevention is so much better than having to deal with the aftermath of the damage this virus causes."

Deegan said that Mac users, for the most part, have been immune to viruses for the past few years, unlike Windows-based systems which must potentially fend off hundreds of viruses each year.

But now Mac users are also having to dust off their virus protection software and get hold of the latest updates to protect their computers.

The Hong Kong Flu virus, Deegan said, destroys hard drives and trashes everything. It came from floppy disks apparently originated in Hong Kong. It was first identified there on May 1.

The virus has devastated computers all over the world - from Mexico City to Dublin, Ireland, - especially within the publishing industry, Deegan said.

The best protection against the virus, Deegan said, is Norton Antivirus for Macintosh 5.0. But users also should download the July 1 update of virus definitions from the Symantec Web site/server.


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