E-card virus warning for Christmas - beware of viruses hiding
in some E-card sites
Thousands of European companies fall prey to viruses every month, and this figure is rising as more employees send Christmas cards through cyberspace.
A new virus called Yaha was identified by London-based watchdog Message Labs on December 13. Meanwhile new versions of the existing Trojan, Bride B and Happy 99 viruses are also spreading in the Christmas boom.
While many e-card sites are legitimate and fun, some online Christmas cards are used as smoke screens, says Alex Shipp of Message Labs. "First they will remove your anti-virus program so that you do not know they are there, then they do all sorts of nasty things like mailing out your address book so that your friends will be affected."
Seventy percent of small to medium-sized firms have been targeted by a virus, losing on average almost a day of computer time, says Simon Williams of London-based communications firm Band and Brown. Viruses also damage trust and communication between businesses.
Williams says it is easy to be caught out by e-cards. "It looks like your software is being used legitimately, but when you open up the form you are consenting to distribute the virus."
"Use the postman for delivering Christmas cards," adds Jack Clarke of computer security firm McAfee. "The Christmas period is the time to be especially vigilant in preventing viruses."
Tips to beat the viruses
• At home, check your PC has adequate virus protection
• Remember that software may need updating
• Don't open e-mails unless you are happy you know who sent them
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