Smart virus spreads in chat rooms

— 12:37 AM on December 8, 1999

One area where I'm not exactly excited about new technological advancements is virus creation. It seems a new level has been reached, however, according to this article. The new virus, W95.Babylonia, has been spreading in IRC chat rooms and apparently infects not only Windows but mIRC, a popular Windows-based IRC client. When an infected user enters an IRC channel with mIRC, the virus attempts to send itself to all the people in the channel, telling them it's a Y2K fix. If they accept the transfer, their machine becomes infected as well.

The real fun part in all of this is that the virus contacts a web site in Japan to obtain instructions on how to affect a user's computer. This gives the virus the potential ability to add new code "on the fly," so to speak. The article claims the virus author can "effectively control the infected computer remotely." I'm not sure if this is a reference to the ability to upload new code to be executed, or if it literally means remote control of the machine; given the wording, I'm leaning toward the former. Nonetheless, it sure makes for a fun time. From the sound of it, the virus could (among other things) install a new, unknown virus that persists after the original one has been cleaned off the machine. Yay.

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