W97M/Prilissa aka the "Christmas" virus alert (11/20/99)
This question was answered on November 20, 1999. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.
A variant of the Melissa virus dubbed W97M/Prilissa or the "Christmas" virus has been discovered There has been a serious outbreak in Europe, and it is expected to travel quickly
WHAT IS IT?
W97M/Prilissa is another in a long line of Word macro viruses It spreads itself by auto-sending an Microsoft Outlook e-mail message with the subject line "Message From (usually someone you know)" and the message text:
"This document is very Important and you've GOT to read this !!!"
It sends this message, with an attached copy of the infected Word file, to the first 50 entries in any address book it finds It does this only once
WHAT DOES IT DO?
Unfortunantly, the Christmas virus includes a destructive payload! If the date is December 25 of any year, it will change the AUTOEXEC.BAT file so that the next time the computer is booted, the hard drive will be formatted which wipes out all your data and programs In addition, the following message will be displayed if you open the Word file:
"(C) 1999 - CyberNET
Vine.. Vide.. Vice.. Moslem Power Never End..
You Dare Rise Against Me.. The Human Era is
Over, The CyberNET Era Has Come!!!
HOW DO I PROTECT MYSELF FROM IT?
The following steps will help to keep you from contracting the virus:
#1 - update you anti-virus program (all of the major companies offer an update on their web sites)
#2 - Don't open an attached file, even if you know the sender, unless you have a current anti-virus program and you know what the attached file contains.
#3 - If you do need to open Microsoft Word files that are attached to an e-mail message, be sure to HOLD DOWN THE SHIFT KEY WHILE OPENING THE FILE!!! The tells Word to disable any macros embedded in the document.
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Posted by Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on November 20, 1999