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New e-mail virus hits China

July 28, 2001 

A new e-mail virus, I-worm/Sircam, may have infected millions of Chinese computers since it struck the mainland on July 20, Chinese anti-virus experts warned.

Wang Jiangmin, general manager of Jiangmin New Science Technology Co Ltd, a Beijing-based anti-virus software developer, said this week the firm has received hundreds of e-mails and thousands of calls for help daily.

The worm was first identified in the United Kingdom more than 10 days ago and has since been reported in more than 50 countries.

"We have received floods of e-mails and phone calls complaining about suspicious file attachments that we have found to be the worm," Wang said. "I'm afraid that millions of computers may have been infected in China."

While spreading rapidly through the Internet, the virus deletes files and directories, and fills up the hard drive with duplicates of itself. The virus is also a risk to the computer user's privacy, Wang said.

Ge Ji, a senior engineer with Beijing-based Kingsoft Co Ltd, another leading anti-virus software developer, said the company has received hundreds of confidential and important documents from infected computers.

"Judging by the names of documents we have received, we can see the virus is spreading very quickly to users' private information online. It's very dangerous," he said.

The subject of the e-mails appeared as: "Hi! How are you?," "I'm sending you this file in order to get your advice" or "I hope you like the file that I sent to you."

The infected e-mail was disguised with a variety of names, making it difficult for users to track the virus, according to Ge.

By JIANG CHEN, copyright © 2001 by

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