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First published: 16th December 1999
The following is background and a short description about free International Support by Data Fellows during the changeover. In addition, Yui Kee Company will provide 24 hours * 3 days for users who want extra service locally. This local service is free to F-Secure Professional users upon registration, and is a charged service to others.Background
There has been many rumors and claims about Y2K related computer viruses. Some of these are exaggerated or misleading. However, it is true that virus-writers are human and, like many other people in the world, they may be excited or inspired by the beginning of year 2000. This may lead them to create new viruses that activate on a date related to Y2K. This is not surprising, we have already seen viruses written to "celebrate" significant dates, such as sporting events (eg. Atlanta Olympics), birthdays (famous people's or people significant to the writer) etc. Because Y2K is such a significant event, we may see many new viruses related to it in the coming weeks.
The spreading channels of viruses are also important, currently the most common ones are e-mail and file transfer via Internet. With VB Script enable, reading e-mail (without opening attachments) is no longer safe from virus attack. Electronic greeting cards are getting common, and it is difficult to avoid receiving executable greeting cards at Christmas and the new year. Therefore, many people are at high risk of getting a virus during that period.
Free Support and Advice
As a local professional anti-virus company in Hong Kong, we will assist our customers and other users to the best of our ability during this potentially difficult time. First, we offer some basic, practical advice that all computer users can follow. Second, our F-Secure Anti-Virus customers will be able to contact us for free advice and support by 24 hour hotline or e-mail during the critical period (1999/12/31 to 2000/01/02). This is in additional to our usual, office hours telephone and e-mail support. Other people or companies can also subscribe to this service.
Some people are confused between Y2K related viruses and Y2K bugs. Y2K bugs are problems with programs that cause them to malfunction when dates in the year 2000 are used. There is a lot of good advice about Y2K bugs, try starting at the HK Government's page:
Y2K related viruses are computer viruses that have been written to do something in relation to the year 2000. This may be to activate on 2000/01/01, but the writer might think it is more amusing to activate on 1999/12/31, or some other nearby date. We cannot predict the activation conditions before seeing the viruses. However, we do know other things:
- The viruses will have been written by people.
- In order to do anything on your machine, they must first reach your machine. Therefore the writers must release them before Y2K - we already know of some Y2K related viruses that have been released, there may be others already spreading.
We can fight these Y2K viruses in exactly the same way we are fighting other viruses. In fact, if everyone was practicing good anti-virus measures now, there would be no reason to be very concerned about Y2K related viruses. Unfortunately, the current prevalence of viruses show that many people are using bad anti-virus measures, or no measures at all. Given the added risk of Y2K related viruses, now is a good time to review and strengthen your anti-virus measures:
- Be cautious about opening e-mail attachments or downloading files from the
Internet. Many people will be sending greetings by e-mail, if these are a simple
text message or a GIF or JPEG graphics file, there is no danger. Programs, including
animations, are high risk. Last year we saw some Christmas animations that were
infected with CIH. Some of the people who lost everything on their hard disk in April
probably got infected from an animation in December. Other viruses are designed to
look like a greeting, for example, the very common Happy99 (Win32/Ska).
Some people say that you should only accept attachments or downloads from "trusted sources". Please be aware that there are different types of trust. Your close friend that you have known since secondary school and who you would trust with your life is not a "trusted source" in this context, they might also be a victim of the virus, and be unaware they are spreading it to you. A "trusted source" is some whose professionalism and competence in dealing with viruses you trust. Probably, this means an established, competent software company - if they do make a mistake, it is likely to be an embarrassing public incident for them, and you could make a claim for negligence.
- Outlook users should be aware that even previewing their e-mail is a high-risk
activity - there is a security hole that is exploited by VBS/Bubbleboy, and probably
other viruses very soon. All users of Microsoft Outlook 98, Microsoft Outlook 2000 and
Microsoft Outlook Express that comes with Internet Explorer 5, should make sure they
read Microsoft's security bulletin:
They also have a patch to fix this problem at: http://www.microsoft.com/security/Bulletins/ms99-032.asp
- Make sure that you have recent, up-to-date anti-virus software installed.
If you do not have a current license for anti-virus updates, most anti-virus vendors have
a limited period trial version that you can install over this period, for example:
If you have anti-virus software installed, make sure you update the virus definitions regularly. There are daily updates available for F-Secure Anti-Virus:
Yui Kee Computing will provide a "Y2K Related Virus Standby Service" 24 hours a day for the three days 1999/12/31 to 2000/12/02 to our users, and corporates. Our normal, office hours support will continue outside of these days. All current F-Secure Anti-Virus license holders will be informed of the contact phone number and e-mail address. Other people or companies that wish to subscribe to the hotline service should contact firstname.lastname@example.org for full details and pricing.
During this period, a minimum of two staff will be prepared to take calls and answer e- mail. At least one Data Fellows Certified Anti-Virus Expert (DFCAE) will be available at all times.
How does this service help?
- Give you professional information from the anti-virus industry through email. Filter information before release to reduce confusions
- Give you 24*3 true local e-mail support, telephone support
- Give you professional advice if you suspect a virus attack
- Optional On-site support by Data Fellows Certified Anti-Virus Expert
Who needs this service?
- Companies who care about Y2K issues
- Companies with computer running during change over
- Corporates with Y2K response team standby during change over
How can you get this service?
- F-Secure professional users (1 contact account Free-Of-Charge upon subscription)
- SME (HK 2000 for 1 contact account)
- Corporate (HK 8000 for 5 contact accounts)
Contact accountEach contact account will receive:
- One Y2K Related Virus Standby Service - Service Pack ("Service Pack")
- One account number for authentication of telephone support
- One email address for receiving up-to-date Y2K related virus info
Money back guaranteeIf YKCL cannot fulfil the terms stated in "Service Pack", a full refund will be credit to the subscriber in 30 days.
The liability is limited to the paid amount of this service. Please refer to the terms stated in "Service Pack".
About Yui Kee
Yui Kee Co. Ltd. is the Data Fellows Certified Anti-virus Centre and Data Fellows business partner for Hong Kong, Macau and China and provides local technical support and consultancy on security matters.