Wednesday, July 15, 1998

New strain of bios virus to hit Sunday, free vet software detects and removes before hardware damage occurs

The third strain of the CIH virus attacks the BIOS ROM chip on computer’s hardware in systems using Windows 95. This new strain, Win95.CIH.1019, is set to cause damage if infected computers boot on the 26th of ANY month. This Sunday, July 26, 1998 will be the first major repercussion of the spread of this infant strain.

Fortunately, VET Anti-Virus has already been upgraded to tackle this destructive virus, and the software is available for free download at the Ontrack® website( Once installed on a PC, Vet ™ 9.8.1 runs a full scan of the hard disk to detect and remove all of the CIH virus variants, in addition to all other known software viruses.

Until this new type of virus emerged early in 1998, viruses only damaged software. The new CIH viruses infect Windows 95/98 program executable files and cause damage to systems with a flash BIOS ROM. As it infects, the virus attempts to reprogram the flash BIOS ROM chip. If the virus succeeds there is no remedy, other than replacing the chip or having it “reflashed” by a hardware service agent. If the flash BIOS ROM is permanently attached to the mother board, the entire motherboard must be replaced.

“The CIH virus produces few clues to unsuspecting computer users that their machines are infected. The virus cleverly infects files without increasing their length. However, the virus occasionally causes system crashes,” according to Robert Stroud, Ontrack virus expert. “Still, the best line of defense against CIH infection is anti-virus software, like VET 9.8.1, which has been specifically upgraded to recognize this new form of corruption.”

There are two parts to the CIH virus payload. The first attempt is to destroy the flash BIOS ROM by reprogramming it with garbage. The second attack overwrites the contents of the hard disk drive with garbage, working through a number of sectors in each cylinder of the drive. The damage caused to information on the hard disk may be recoverable through professional data recovery services, but will be difficult.

“One of the reasons we entered an agreement with Cybec, the developer of VET, was to help us recover data after the virus has done its damage by teaching us early about how data was lost due to virus interference.” says Mike Rogers, CEO of Ontrack.

Cybec Pty, Ltd., an Australian based computer software firm, specializes in anti-virus software for a range of applications and systems. Cybec is the largest anti-virus developer in Australasia. The Cybec VET software is a leading anti-virus utility, currently used on approximately 500,000 PC’s in 33 countries.

Ontrack (NASDAQ: ONDI), the world leader in data recovery, specializes in services and software that help computer users access and recover their valuable data. Using hundreds of proprietary tools and techniques, Ontrack is able to recover lost or corrupted data from all operating systems and types of storage devices. Ontrack can be reached through its World Wide Web site at or by calling 800-872-2599 (612-937-5161). In addition to its Minneapolis headquarters, Ontrack operates customer service centers in Los Angeles, San Jose, Washington, D.C., New York, Tokyo, London, Paris and Stuttgart.