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Goner e-mail virus causes headaches for many

December 7, 2001

Goner e-mail virus causes headaches for many

Bristol Herald Courier

   Goner, a new e-mail virus that swept across the world this week, caused headaches for many in the Tri-Cities, especially at Bristol Motor Speedway.
   The malicious program, disguised as a screensaver attachment, tries to delete antivirus programs and automatically sends itself to everyone in an infected computer's Microsoft Outlook address book.
   Wayne Estes, the track's communications director, said the virus, also called a worm, struck the BMS computer system Tuesday evening when a user opened the attachment.
   Soon, the track's e-mail system was overwhelmed.
   "It put our e-mail down for the evening," he said. "There was nothing too critical. It was an aggravation, but we didn't lose any files, and it didn't affect ticketing."
   Estes said the system remained down until sometime Wednesday morning.
   Although the speedway uses the latest antivirus programs, the worm still managed to get through.
   Symantec, a leading technology corporation in the area of computer security, manufactures the popular Norton antivirus program and provides free information about computer viruses at its Web site.
   According to Symantec, the virus is programmed in Visual Basic and can spread through Microsoft Outlook, the ICQ instant messenger and Internet Relay Chat clients.
   The subject of an e-mail containing the Goner virus typically is "Hi," and it usually contains the message, "How are you? When I saw this screen saver, I immediately thought about you. I am in a harry (sic), I promise you will love it."
   The screensaver attachment often is named Goner.scr.
   Symantec representatives said the virus also may delete files containing "NAV."
   In order to prevent the spread of e-mail worms, experts said users should never open attachments unless the e-mail was expected and users are sure of the content.


By CHRIS DUMOND, Bristol Herald Courier


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