I had a phone call from Neil Kearns tonight, explaining what happened
at his end in all the recent viral troubles. Neil's explanation is
more or less the same as that suggested by a few list members.
The Bad Trans virus was first detected by antivirus agents on 11 April.
Neil Kearns received the virus at his 1st account via a message and
attachment from a friend - the message sat unopened in his 'inbox'
until he downloaded his mail to a 2nd account, where he read the
message and opened the attachment, thinking it was something
legitimate from this friend.
The virus went to work on his mail folder and sent itself to the
senders of unread messages on about 20 April - you all know the rest
of the story.
Neil wanted me to let you know that (A) he is sorry that a number of
users were infected and that (B) he had no idea that he had passed on
a virus until some of you contacted him about it. He is without
doubt an innocent bystander - like the rest of us! He has warned his
friend about the problem but I don't think it has been traced back
any further yet. Most people delete problem messages asap so it
would be hard to track down the originator with any certainty.
As far as I'm aware, most people have by now cleaned out their mail
folders, attachment folders and system folders and used antivirus
software to check their computers. If not, please do it!
Fortunately, most people were able to clean up their system with
little or no cost, other than that required to upgrade their
About 20 members were infected and needed to clean up their machines.
Most took between 10 minutes and an hour, but a few people had more
serious problems (possibly because their antivirus software was not
able to detect or clean up the offending files), and at least two
needed to pay up to $170 for technical help and software upgrades.
Neil Kearns said that he'd been having hard disk problems so took the
opportunity to throw away the old one and start again!
All up, I think we were very fortunate that this virus did not 'get
away' on us, and I'd put that down to some excellent work by a few
birding-aus members who let us know very early about the problem, and
then chased some solutions for us. At the risk of leaving out
someone, I'd like especially to thank:
Jon Wren, Colin Clarke, Chris Padley, Mike Norris, Kurt Hebner and
Tim Hyde, and to everyone who spread the word so effectively.
PS All infected members that I've heard from were using Windows
95/98/ME and usually Outlook or Netscape Communicator. VET, MacAfee
and Norton were best at detecting / cleaning up,but only if the
latest update was installed.
Russell Woodford Ph (BH/AH) (03) 52 739 237
Birding-Aus Mailing List Manager Fax (03) 52 739 371
Mobile 0419 395 100
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