RealTime IT News

Watch Out For Virus Hoax During World Cup

Anti-virus solutions provider, Sophos, urges computer users to be extra vigilant against virus threats as excitement surrounding the World Cup competition reaches fever pitch.

Seemingly harmless World Cup screensavers, spreadsheets and electronic wall charts could provide the ideal vehicles for virus and worm propagation. Sophos is advising employees and home PC users not to open unsolicited emails, download material from the Internet or use anything on their computer which is not known to be virus-free.

"Millions of people worldwide will be following the World Cup and will be using the Internet and email to keep up to date with all the action," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant, Sophos Anti-Virus.

"We have already seen viruses utilizing the popularity of celebrities such as Anna Kournikova and Britney Spears; David Beckham or Michael Owen could be next. Amidst the enthusiasm for the competition, it's important that users maintain a solid defence," he added.

The World Cup has provided the inspiration for viruses in the past, and the possibility of it happening again should not be ruled out. In 1998, in a tribute to the winning French team, the WM97/ZMJ-K virus dropped infected documents onto victims' PCs, displaying the message 'vive la coupe du monde 98!!!'.