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Record number of computer viruses reported in Dec.

TOKYO, Jan. 10 Kyodo

The Information-technology Promotion Agency (IPA), affiliated with the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry, said Thursday it received 3,900 reports of computer viruses in December, a record since it began keeping figures in 1990.

Buoying the monthly total to far outpace the previous record of 2,809 in August was a variant of the W32/Badtrans virus which totaled 2,701 cases, a record for a single virus reported in a month, topping August's 1,257 cases of the W32/Sircam virus, it said.

The new variant, which began to circulate in November, is designed to attack security holes in Microsoft Corp.'s Web navigation software Internet Explorer and contaminates computers with only a preview of an infected message over the firm's Outlook Express e-mail manager, it said.

The virus then redistributes itself to every e-mail address recorded on the infected computer, not only those in the e-mail software's address book.

It could also come out with passwords and credit card numbers by bringing in a program that records the users' keyboard typing.

''It has very strong infective power and a vicious function,'' the IPA warned.

As much as 36.7% of the December virus reports were from individual users, as against 23.3% for the whole of 2001 and 8.3% for 2000, and 28.9% of them suffered actual damage due mostly to the lack of vaccine software, it said.

As for 2001, the agency said it received 24,261 reports, more than double the 11,109 received in 2000, but the percentage of actual infection cases dipped to 19.3% from 19.6% thanks to corporate users enhancing their countermeasures.
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Comment:Record number of computer viruses reported in Dec.
Publication:Japan Computer Industry Scan
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 14, 2002
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