VIRUS ALERT - ABOUT THE RUMOR
Michael F. Bowman (mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG)
Tue, 27 Jun 1995 00:26:54 -0400
Two people recently alerted the list to a suspected virus on disks being
distributed by an online service, providing only sketchy details,
prompting requests for more information. The rumor they were responding
to was that disks distributed by America Online (AOL) were contaminated
with a "Burp" virus.
I checked with AOL's Telecommunications/Security Forum for information.
Two users related that friends had experienced a virus on software
distributed by AOL. In both cases the users were alleged to have
regularly checked their disks for viruses (some stealth viruses disable
Central Point and Microsoft V-Safe, which means that the checking may not
have been reliable), and that both users after booting, entering windows,
and accessing AOL were presented with a large AOL Icon just before their
systems locked up. When they rebooted, they allege that their systems
were wiped out. All of this is second hand information and there has not
been independent confirmation.
AOL has responded to inquiries on this subject by saying that it has tried
to verify this information, but that so far all they can find are rumors.
AOL is aware of the rumor, but maintains that it has not been able to find
this virus on its system, in its files or in distributed disks. AOL also
advises that it checks all of its files and disks for viruses. They do
caution that they cannot check files users download via e-mail or through
internet connections provided by AOL (where AOL does not control the files).
Now before anyone jumps all over the two members of our list who related
the rumor to us, remember that they were acting out of genuine concern for
the computer health of their fellow Scouters - trying to alert us to what
might be a problem. They were sketchy in their descriptions, because they
had been told they could be sued for naming names. I'm not sure this is
much protection, as the other online services could also be affected by a
non- specific rumor and have the same reason to be aggravated.
Fortunately most services are eager to track down viruses, are concerned
not to ship contaminated products, and just as eager to stop rumors that
could hurt their businesses. Once a rumor gets circulated it can cause
them just as much damage as a virus. Of course, if you are on the
receiving end, it gets a little more personal when your computer dies and
its a little late to find out at that point. AOL will continue to check
into this one. At this point all that can be confirmed is that there is a
rumor and that it has not yet been substantiated by first hand knowledge.
Information concerning this rumor can be found on AOL's tele-
communications/security forum. For those who are on AOL and have
concerns, please use that forum to check for information or to relate
For those new to this list and new to computers, this might be a good time
to suggest that it is always a good practice to keep a backup of critical
files (even if you still have the original program disk); e.g. .ini, .grp,
and other files that you have customized or added in windows and your
other primary programs. Similarly, it is a good practice to use an
anti-virus program to check all new stuff that you add to your hard drive
before you run it.
Speaking only for myself in the Scouting Spirit, Michael F. Bowman
Prof. Beaver, Nat. Capital Area Council, BSA mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City