Santa Paula Times

Warnings being issued about
new virus to be Y2K activated

December 10, 1999
Santa Paula News
Santa Paula computer owners might just want to be extra careful or they might find themselves suffering from Y2K computer blues. . .hackers have a especially sneaky virus all ready for the millennium. Warnings were issued Dec. 2 that the first of what experts fear could be a Y2K virus already being stored on hard drives and awaiting activation starting Jan. 1, 2000.The program has been named W32.Mypics. Worm by anti-virus researchers who claim the virus has already made its way into the hard drives of unsuspecting victims. Like many such worms, the virus spreads via e-mail posing as a acquaintance urging the computer user to open a file: “Here’s some pictures for you!” is the innocuous message of the virus waiting to be activated. The attachment file is called “pics4you.exe.” but is actually a small program that runs when the user tries to view the pictures.If the program is run it will mail itself out to 50 people in the computer’s address book, then hide itself.Most at risk are Windows-based computers where the virus “lands” in Microsoft’s Outlook and Outlook Express e-mail software, including the address book. . .the infected program will then hide out in the in a component of the Windows operating system known as the “registry”.The good news is that if the message and the attached file are simply deleted without opening the file, the program will die a natural death and not harm the user’s computer.
The bad news is people who are not familiar with the low-down dirty tricks of planted virus nuts and the danger of picking up same are in danger of letting curiosity getting the better of them and investigating the “Here’s some pictures for you!” message and opening the attachment file “pics4you.exe.”Viewing pictures is a growing use of computer owners, especially those who use the computer extensively for family communication.But anti-virus experts warn that any Windows-based computer system with Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express software is at-risk, although many companies and professional computer users have become virus wary and are less likely to access such a message.