The new age of mass-mailing viruses dawns

July 23, 1999 Sophos Press Release

Sophos six month virus analysis shows self-propagating viruses spell biggest long-term threat

Happy 99, Melissa and ExploreZip are just the beginning of the virus evolution into the next Millennium. A report of viruses striking in the first six months of 1999, by anti-virus specialists, Sophos, shows virus writers are making infections more damaging by no longer relying on users to spread them unintentionally.

The analysis highlights three self-propagating viruses in the Top Ten. Instead of taking months to spread into the wild, the new type of strains attack globally within days. Sophos is expecting the trend to continue as new viruses exploit even more loopholes for self-distribution.

"Both Melissa and ExploreZip were deliberately coded to auto-propagate themselves using Microsoft Outlook", explained Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "Earlier this year, Melissa proved it was possible for a virus to become widespread, around the globe, within a single day. This is a significant change in the way viruses proliferate."

Sophos is leading the way in responding ever faster to the latest virus threats and continues to recommend that businesses keep their anti-virus software up-to-date and employ "safe-computing" policies.

Read the report: Anti-virus round-up (January-June 1999)