CA Says New Virus Can Flood E-Mail Systems

SAN FRANCISCO (05/25/2000) - Computer Associates International Inc. (CA) today warned of a new computer virus that has the potential to jam e-mail networks and reformat users' hard drives. However, while CA is raising a red flag over the virus, other antivirus software vendors said they are less concerned about its possible impact.

Dubbed Cybernet, the virus mails itself to the first 50 entries in a user's Microsoft Corp. Outlook address book, and tries to reformat a user's hard drive the next time they reboot, CA said in a statement issued today. E-mails carrying the virus arrive with a subject line "You've GOT Mail !!!" and the text of the message advises users that the document attached is "virus free."

CA said Cybernet has been reported in the wild, and compared it to the notorious Melissa virus.

Other antivirus software vendors today played down its significance. McAfee.com Corp.'s current software already detect the virus and none of its customers have reported being affected by Cybernet, company spokeswoman Mary Kay Larson said.

"It's on a medium risk assessment, but that's only because of its potential to spread fast," Larson said in a phone interview today. "We see about a hundred of this type of virus a month that are similar."

Cybernet was first detected today, and originated in Indonesia according to information in the text of the virus code, Larson added.

Security software specialist Finjan Software Ltd. has assigned the virus a "low-threat" rating, a company spokesman said.

"We haven't seen anything yet, and no customers have reported it it," said David Kroll, a director with Finjan, in a phone interview today.

Nevertheless, CA maintained that the virus presents "a high threat to all eBusinesses and home users due to its ability to completely flood mission-critical e-mail networks."

CA said its InnoculateIT antivirus software can protect users against the Cybernet virus.

CA, in Islandia, New York, can be reached at +1-516-342-5224 or at http://www.cai.com/. McAfee.com, in Santa Clara, California, is at +1-408-572-1500, and on the Web at http://www.mcafee.com/. Finjan, in San Jose, California, is at +1-408-324-0228, and on the Web at http://www.finjan.com/.

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