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Destructive Christmas Day Virus/Worm Mutation

Symantec Warns Computer Users Of Destructive Christmas Day Virus/Worm Mutation

W32.Kriz Mutation Attempts to Wipe Out Computer Systems on Christmas Day

Symantec New Zealand has warned computer users and companies of the potential threat to data and systems posed by a mutation of the W32.Kriz virus. The hybrid virus renders infected systems inoperable on Christmas day by wiping out all hard drives and attempting to flash the BIOS (an essential set of computer instructions that is stored on a chip and provides communication between the operating system and the hardware). The W32.Kriz mutation combines the destructive payload of the W32.Kriz virus with the highly infectious W32.hllw.bymer.worm.

To combat the threat, Symantec is advising users of its Norton AntiVirus solution to download latest virus definitions via LiveUpdate of from www.symantec.com/avcenter/download.html and ensure the product’s Auto Protect feature is enabled. Symantec will have a tool available to detect and repair the mutation late Wednesday or early Thursday on its website.

Virus Specifics
W32.Kriz was first discovered over a year ago, but has not been widespread until recently. In a rare, but increasingly common occurrence, the virus has infected several common computer worms including Happy99.worm and W32.hllw.bymer.worm, allowing the two to propagate rapidly as one destructive unit. If no action is taken, the Symantec AntiVirus Research Center (SARC) expects to see high numbers of damage reports from all parts of the world on December 25. The payload is very similar to the CIH virus, which triggered on April 26, 2000 causing worldwide damage. The CIH virus was also circulating in the wild for more than a year before it caused major destruction.

“To be completely protected from the destructive W32.Kriz virus, users should download the latest virus definitions from the Symantec website and ensure the product’s Auto Protect feature is enabled,” says Richard Batchelar, Country Manager, Symantec New Zealand. “A tool to detect and repair the mutation will be available late Wednesday or early Thursday. SARC researchers will be working throughout the holiday season to analyse new viruses and to provide our customers with complete protection.”

W32.Kriz Virus Characteristics
 W32.Kriz is a Windows 9x/NT virus, which infects Portable Executable (PE) Windows files.
 The virus goes resident into memory, attempting to infect any files that are opened by the user or applications.
 Additionally, the virus modifies the KERNEL32.DLL file, a critical operating system file that enables the virus to spread throughout the system, and attempts to corrupt some PE files, requiring them to be replaced by known, clean backups or from the installation package.

Payload
On December 25th, the virus will attempt to flash the BIOS of the computer, preventing the computer from booting up properly and in most cases, requiring the user to replace the hardware. The virus will also begin overwriting files on all available drives including mapped network drives, floppy drives and RAM disks. The payload is very similar to W95.CIH virus.

Symantec AntiVirus Research Center
SARC is one of the industry’s largest dedicated team of virus experts. The center’s mission is to provide swift, global responses to computer virus threats, proactively research and develop technologies that eliminate such threats, and educate the public on safe computing practices. As new computer viruses appear, SARC develops identification and detection for these viruses, and provides either a repair or delete operation, thus keeping users protected against the latest virus threats. New Zealand customers are protected by SARC Australia.

About Symantec
Symantec, a world leader in Internet security technology, provides a broad range of content and network security solutions to individuals and enterprises. The company is a leading provider of virus protection, vulnerability assessment, intrusion prevention, Internet content and e-mail filtering, remote management technologies and security services to enterprises around the world. Symantec’s Norton brand of consumer security products leads the market in worldwide retail sales and industry awards. Headquartered in Cupertino, Calif., Symantec has worldwide operations in 36 countries including New Zealand. Symantec is represented in New Zealand by Auckland based distributors SealCorp and Tech Pacific.

For further press information please view http://www.symantec.com/region/au_nz/

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