Sorry, if you know of this already. Please read it if you do not. It is a REAL virus.

Amanda Milham
Information Systems Guru

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NZ Reseller News Extra, Monday March 29, 1999, Issue 16: Special Bulletin


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Virus Outbreak: Special Bulletin

Given the reported potential of this virus we felt it worth advising you as soon
as possible and sending you this report in full from our US wire service. We
would like to hear if you or any of your customers have been hit by the virus.
If so please reply to sender, email [EMAIL PROTECTED] or phone Richard Wood
on  (09) 377 9902.

Masive E-mail virus outbreak

By Dan Briody, InfoWorld Electric (US)

SAN MATEO (Friday March 26, 1999) - A crippling and embarrassing virus spent the
day marauding countless e-mail inboxes around the world, replicating itself to
end-user address books and sending an exhaustive list of pornographic Web sites
to everyone therein. Dubbed the "Melissa" virus, the culprit has hampered -- and
in some cases entirely shut down -- e-mail systems for companies the world over.
For example, Microsoft Corp. has put a halt to all outgoing e-mails throughout
the company.

"Some users at Microsoft received an e-mail that contained a Word document that
has attached to it a macro virus," said Andrew Dixon, group product manager for
Office at Microsoft. "If that document is opened and the macro virus is allowed
to run, it is possible (for the virus) to send e-mail to a number of other

Dixon said that this afternoon, Microsoft "temporarily turned off outgoing
e-mail" company-wide to guard against spreading the virus. Dixon said he did not
know how many Microsoft employees received the marco virus, or how many may have
triggered it

At risk are Microsoft Exchange Servers running Microsoft Outlook. With an
ever-changing subject heading of "Important Message From (end-user name), the
attachment to the e-mail is a document entitled "list.doc" with a body of text
reading "Here is that document you asked for ... don't show anyone else ;-)."

Upon opening the attachment, Microsoft Word 97 will ask if you want to disable
the macros, to which you should reply yes, or the e-mail will automatically be
sent to the first fifty names on each company mailing list.

"If you don't disable the macros, the virus resends itself to everyone in (your)
address list," said John Berard, a spokesman for Fleishman Hillard, which was
infected by the virus and inadvertently spread it around. "We've been shut down
and working on the problem all day. It's hard working without the effective use
of e-mail. But this thing did not originate with us."

In addition, the virus automatically changes the security settings of an
infected system to the lowest possible setting, a slick move that has IT
managers wondering if they will have to manually reset every infected PC in
their enterprise.

Fleishman Hillard immediately shut down its systems when it discovered the virus
and contacted federal authorities. Fleishman Hillard has more than 1,500
employees worldwide.

Meanwhile, the list of companies affected is growing exponentially. An Intel
Corp. spokesperson reported that the chip-giant had been "touched" by the virus
and is working on correcting the problem. "It's all over," he said.

Tom Moske, network manager for USWeb CKS, said the virus has made for a very
long day. "It's going to propagate like crazy. It's gone to all of our client
and personal addresses. We are kind of laughing, although it is pretty bad. This
is a good one."

A fix for the virus has been posted on the Trend Micro Web site. All major
antivirus companies are expected to follow suit by Monday. Symantec is on a
company-wide holiday today.

Dan Schrader, director of product marketing at Trend Micro recommends that IT
managers do not panic upon learning of the insidious virus, but shut down the
e-mail system and go to Trend Micro's Web site at for further instructions.

Though Schrader could not say how many companies had been affected, he did say
his company was "getting swamped with calls and hits on the Web site. Obviously
it spreads very rapidly."

Schrader said the virus is easy to detect and not destructive in nature. But it
can cause serious bandwidth constraints and contains several quirky

According to Trend Micro officials, the virus has a hidden message that is time
triggered to reveal a quote from the popular TV series "The Simpsons."



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