AutoCAD Virus Detected

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA (07/19/2000) - What seems to be the first virus affecting the popular CAD (computer-aided design) software program, AutoCAD, has been discovered, according to Hispasec, a Spanish security company.

A preview version of a virus report from Hispasec was provided to IDG News Service on Wednesday by Bernardo Quintero, head of Hispasec. The report says that the virus, "Autocad2k\Star," does not appear to be harmful and that it is not likely to be widespread because of the specialized nature of AutoCAD, but its existence shows that AutoCAD is susceptible. More importantly, Hispasec thinks that the virus could be a forerunner to a new family of macro viruses that could affect AutoCAD.

The virus threat became possible when Autodesk Inc., AutoCAD's developer, added VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) compatibility to the product in Version 14.

The VBA compatibility allows users to insert macros within an AutoCAD design or external scripts with the extension .dvb.

The program offers an option for enabling a macro warning notice. This warning, however, cannot reveal whether the macros included are legitimate ones, included in the original document, or if they were maliciously added by an external program.

The macro virus "Autocad2k\Star" is a very simple program, infecting only application documents, with no further harmful activity, according to the Hispasec report. The virus code is enclosed within a module called "AcadDocument_Deactivate." The virus executes itself when the window that contains it or the document loses focus or is deactivated. Then, according to the report, it infects all of the AutoCAD documents that it finds in the victim's hard disk.

The virus carries a short comment line at the end of its code: "Big Greetz to some0ne really special. 'You'll always be a star in my sky'."

Autodesk officials could not be reached for comment.

Autodesk, in San Rafael, California, can be reached at +1-415-507-6611, or at http://www.autocad.com/.

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