Prepare yourself for the CIH 1.2 virus

The ICSA and the Antivirus Product Developers Consortium this week issued a bulletin about the CIH 1.2 virus, which is scheduled to trigger on April 26.

"People need to pay attention to this one," says Roger Thompson, director of antivirus and malicious code research for the ICSA, an independent organisation based in the US, that certifies antivirus software and that rarely issues such alerts.

New and nasty variant

CIH 1.2 is a file virus that infects Windows 95/98 .exe files and infects your PC when the application is run.

It's a relatively new and nasty variant of the original CIH virus, which first appeared in May of 1998 and received widespread publicity at the time. The original CIH triggers on the 26th of every month, but never became widespread.

The latest variant, however, is considered to be common and ranks 17 on Joe Wells' respected Wild List of viruses.

CIH 1.2 is particularly nasty because it has what virus researchers call a dual payload. When it triggers, it first attempts to overwrite your PC's BIOS setup. This works only with a Flash BIOS that can be upgraded via software and because there's no industry standard way of programming a Flash BIOS, CIH isn't always successful at doing its dirty work. But if it is successful, your PC won't start until the BIOS is reprogrammed.

Whether or not CIH 1.2 is successful at overwriting the BIOS, what it does next is even worse. It overwrites your entire hard disk with random data, erasing all your data and applications.

Getting prepared

The ICSA's Thompson has two suggestions for all PC users: get your antivirus software up to date and back up your data.

According to the ICSA, all recent versions of ICSA-certified antivirus software can detect and remove the CIH 1.2 virus. But it's still worthwhile to check the Web site of your antivirus software maker to make sure it detects CIH 1.2. Spot checks of antivirus software sites, including industry leaders Symantec and Network Associates' McAfee, show that current updates do.

And if your PC isn't equipped with antivirus software, what are you waiting for? Several companies, including McAfee, Symantec and PC-Cillin, offer free trial versions of their antivirus software.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stan Miastkowski

PC World

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?