40hex4:(40HEX-4.005):26/12/1991 << Back To 40hex4

40Hex Issue 4 December 1991 "No feelings of what I left behind, no guilt for the victims of my crime. No compassion, just a burning deep inside. No pain... I'm here just to die... " - Sub Zero This artical is from the 11/26/91 morning final of the San Jose Mercury News **text written like this is my comments** SURVEY DEFLATES COMPUTER-VIRUS DANGERS But safeguards are few as cases proliferate. Computer viruses, those nasty bits of distructive programming unleashed by deviant hackers, are multiplying at a startling rate - but haven't proved nearly as troublesome as once feared and aren't scaring users enough to take even simple safeguards. Dataquest Inc. a marker research firm in San Jose released a groundbreaking 150-page survey Monday showing that almost two-thirds of business and government orginazatons with more than 300 personal computers has encountered a viurs at least once this year. Yet only 15 percent of them has installed anti-virus software. What's more, Dataquest found the virus encounters more than doubled in each of the first three quarters of 1991. **<smile, smile>** The National Computer Security Association of Washington D.C., which represents 1,000 developers of anti-virus software, hired Dataquest to conduct what is apparently the first study of virus proliferation by a reseacher not directly employed by an anti-virus software company. Computer viruses hide themselves in legitamate files, jumping from machine to machine. Triggered either at random or on a set date, such as Friday the 13th, the most destructive viruses gobble up programs and data in their host computers. **gobble???** Robert Morris, then a student at Cornell University, unleashed a the biggest virus to date in November 1988 **please** when a program he intended to queitly slip onto a network call Internet went out of control and temporally shut down 6,000 computers at universitys and government reaserch labrotorys nationwide. In the wake of the Internet case, there were dire predictions of future virus attacks the could bring the entire economy grinding to a halt. But there haven't been any major virus outbreaks since then and, it turnded out, the Internet virus **Internet worm, damn it!!!** did little permanent damage. What's more, most viruses are relitavely mild - more like a case of sniffles the double pnemonia. Typically, these mild viruses take up space in the computers memory and slow down operations, but don't destroy data. ** :) :( ** "Many viruses are very innocuous," said Shella Cotter, director of software consulting for Dataquest. "You find them, you identify them and you get rid of them." "Many of the viruses I've heard about have not been big problems," added Jay BloomBecker ** tell me he aint gay **, director of the National Center for Computer Crime Data in Santa Cruz. "But it's significant enough that if you're not paying attention to it, you security is probably inadeqaute." Anti-virus software sold over the counter automatcally plucks out the most of the roughly, 1,000 viruses identifey thoughout the world. Occasoinally however, killer viruses can take over an entire computer system and threaten a buisness with massive losses of crucial information. Dataquest talked to 600 orginazations during October and dicovered that 63 percent had encountered at least one virussince the beginning of the year. Of these reporting and encounter, 62 percent claimed "a definite loss of productivity," although the $70,000 study did not tabulate the total cost. In the survey group, 9 percent reported a "virus disaster," defined as a single incedent affecting 25 or more personal computers or diskettes. On average, computers involved in a virus disaster were out of commision four days and required reprogramming at a cost of $6,200. And, in 3 percent of virus attacks, either the person who introduced the virus or the person responible for computer security was threatened with dismmisal. Dataquest didn't count how many were actually fired. "Computer viruses are much more prevalent than people think and, unless we think, and unless we take precautions, over time they are going to get worse," said Andrew Seybold, head of the Dataquest servey team. But anti-virus software and strict enforcement of computer scurity policies could change in the future. "The good news is, it's solveable. The bad news is companies aren't chossing to solve it,", Cotter concluded. ** The other way around for us **