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CIH virus about to hit unwary users

First published: 22nd April 1999

Data Fellows offers free remedy at

Espoo, Finland, April 22, 1999. - Data Fellows, one of the world's leading developers of anti-virus and encryption software, is reminding computer users about a computer virus which activates on the "CIH Monday", April 26, 1999.

The virus, called CIH 1.2, does not pose a risk to users of DOS, Windows 3.x, Windows NT or Macintosh. It only replicates and activates under Windows 95 and Windows 98. The virus can overwrite the hard disk and the flash BIOS of an infected computer when it activates on 26th April -- causing complete loss of data, and possibly rendering the computer unusable. Data Fellows is advising all computer users to check their systems with an anti-virus program and back up their data.

According to Mikko Hypponen, Manager of Anti-Virus Research at Data Fellows, CIH activation might not become as serious a problem as originally feared. "The Melissa virus outbreak less than a month ago had a major effect on the CIH virus as well", Hypponen explains.

"Hundreds of thousands of people heard about the Melissa virus and downloaded anti-virus programs to check their systems. What they often found, though, was the CIH virus instead of Melissa. As a result, thousands of CIH-infected machines were disinfected during the Melissa scare", Hypponen says.

"We are not expecting catastrophes in North America or Europe", Hypponen continues. "Most of the infected machines in these areas are isolated home machines. However, the situation is quite different in Asia, where the CIH virus is still very widespread in corporate computers as well." Allan Dyer, Anti-Virus Researcher at Yui Kee, distributor of Data Fellows' products in Hong Kong, said, "I can confirm that CIH is in Hong Kong, we have received samples from a number of different companies locally. How many sites are still infected but unaware is entirely unknown."

Free solution for CIH

Data Fellows has taken steps to ensure that as many users as possible can be saved from damage by CIH. This is done with a customised, completely free tool called F-CIH. F-CIH will determine whether the CIH virus is currently active in the machine and warn the user if it is. F-CIH is provided as a single standalone program, it is very quickly downloaded and easy to use - and totally free. "Instead of just providing our evaluation version of F-Secure Anti-Virus software, which is several megabytes in size, we wanted to provide a simple and easy method to quickly check if you should be worried about CIH or not. F-CIH does exactly this", explains Mikko Hypponen.

What users should do

According to Hypponen, if a user's computer is protected with anti-virus software and the software has been updated in 1999, problems are unlikely to occur, as the software should detect the virus. However, he advises users to double-check and make sure their software is up to date and able to detect CIH, and to make back-ups of important data. If in any doubt, download the free F-CIH tool from the Data Fellows website now.