Sophos detects new Microsoft virus threat

April 02, 1998 Sophos Press Release

Sophos has discovered the first virus to infect Microsoft Access Files. Of the four main components of Microsoft Office 97, only PowerPoint now remains free from virus attack. Sophos has upgraded its existing software to provide protection against the new virus, known as either "Access-Jerk1N" or "AM97/Accessiv". AM97/Accessiv operates through the macro language in Microsoft's Access 97 database product. As with the first Word virus, Winword/Concept, it is not destructive, but searches for other Access databases to infect.

"While the appearance of any new virus type is interesting to anti-virus researchers, users should not panic," said Paul Ducklin, Head of Research at Sophos. "Generally speaking, Access databases are not shared in the same way as document files, which are routinely exchanged between employees and between companies by email. This suggests that the explosion in prevalence of Word viruses will not be emulated by Access-infecting viruses."

"This new virus does, however, serve to remind people that macro viruses are not limited to Word and Excel," added Ducklin. "Any application which offers a sufficiently powerful macro language is susceptible to virus attack."