Macro viruses still topping the charts
SYDNEY - Sophos Australia has released its Top 10 of Reported Viruses for the month of
June . . . and it makes for some pretty interesting reading!
Although the latest generation of malicious code is now
email-aware - and thus able to make itself more widespread, more
quickly - old threats should not be forgotten.
The key point to notice is that more than 50 per cent of all
incidents reported to Sophos are simple Office macro viruses. These
viruses can only be spread by people passing around documents that
have unknowingly been infected. These viruses cannot be spread
without user intervention.
Method in eliminating madness
Sean Richmond, Sophos Australia's Senior Support Engineer, says
adhering to a small number of simple guidelines can practically
eliminate these viruses.
"The key point to remember is that by choosing how you save a
Microsoft Word document, you can cut out macros altogether," he
Sophos recommends that whenever you need to send a Microsoft
Word document to someone, you select File - Save As from the
main menu. Choosing "Rich Text Format (*.rtf)" as the file type
means the document you send will look exactly the same, but cannot
contain any macros.
You can avoid spreading the virus by saving documents in Rich
Text Format. You can also avoid becoming infected by telling people
who send you Word documents to use Rich Text Format too.
"All files you receive in email should be treated with
suspicion, no matter where they come from, " Richard Baldry,
Director of Sophos's Australian operations, says. "After all,
viruses are just a type of computer program. If people don't run
those programs, they don't get the chance to spread and they won't
get the chance to cause any harm."
Sophos has been one of the world's leaders in teaching systems
administrators and users how to deal with the threat of computer
The acclaimed Anti-Virus
workshops, in which students get hands-on experience of the
techniques used by Europe's most respected researchers in the
field, have recently been revised, and will be launched in
Australia before the end of the year. For further details, contact
June top 10