WOBURN, MA -- Sophos, the leading developer of network
anti-virus software, today announced the appearance of the first
virus to infect Microsoft Access Files.
The new virus, named AM97/Accessiv, operates
through the macro language in Microsoft's Access 97 database
product. As with Winword/Concept, the first
Word virus, the new virus is not destructive, but simply looks for
other Access databases to infect. This means that of the four main
components of Microsoft's Office 97 suite, only PowerPoint remains
free from virus attack.
Sophos quickly analyzed the virus and is the first company to
make a fix to its standard product available. An IDE (virus
signature) file is currently available on Sophos's website
"While the appearance of any new virus type is interesting, we
don't believe that users need to be unduly concerned about this new
virus." said Richard Jacobs, President of Sophos, Inc. "Although it
would be very easy to add a payload to this virus, the way in which
Access is used means that this type of virus is very unlikely to
propagate successfully. The new virus helps to remind people that
viruses are not limited to Microsoft Word, any system with a
sophisticated macro language is susceptible to virus attack."
The speed with which Word viruses have spread is due to the fact
that users frequently exchange Word documents. This has been helped
by the explosion in email and Internet use over the last few years,
which have greatly increased the ease and speed with which
documents can be transferred. Viruses rely on this exchange of
infected objects between users to propagate, without it they
Database files, such as Access, tend to be large files that sit
on one system and often contain complex and confidential data.
Whereas documents are easily sent to several people, databases stay
in one place and people come to them (either physically or
electronically). This means that Access files are rarely moved
between systems, providing almost no opportunity for a virus to