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Dealers warned of virus threat

Dealers are being warned of a new threat to their businesses, a powerful computer virus that has reaked havoc in the US.

Showroom Events warns that it is doubtful virus protection software will protect dealers since the virus leaps across internal networks “immediately”.

Showroom Events' director Danny Lee said: "We provide a lot of prospecting data by email. We deal with quite a few of the 5,700 dealers in the UK and in the last few weeks we have seen an unprecedented increase in the appearance of the Sircam virus arriving in dealers emails.

“As a small office I can easily enforce strict policies to stop this virus. But, that's harder to enforce across dealership staff.”

The virus arrives from a known and trusted contact. It then plunders your email address book for new people to send the virus to. Then it steals random and documents from your personal files to send with the virus to everybody in your email address book. The next recipient receives a file from somebody they know and trust with an attachment that looks safe to open. Unlike most viruses, the Siram virus disguises itself from protection software. This is done by randomly changing the main body text of the message and choosing a new subject line every time it travels. Sometimes connected with the file it has stolen. It also leaps across in-house networks within minutes of arriving, repeating the process on all address books. Most importantly, on a large percentage of machines Sircam is programmed to fill hard disk with random files until the system crashes on Tuesday 16th October. The virus, more properly known as a worm, was first detected in mid-July but has slowly been gathering momentum.

Showroom Events has placed a free 'cleaner' from the US Virus Centre on its website, www.showroomevents.co.uk. This file will check a Windows machine for the existence of Sircam. If discovered the free cleaner should go on a floppy disk and each machine unplugged from the network until all are shown to be clean. (October 8, 2001)

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