Viruses and the Mac FAQ

Discussion in 'Apple' started by David Harley, Jan 16, 2004.

  1. David Harley

    David Harley Guest

    Archive-name: computer-virus/macintosh-faq
    Posting-Frequency: Fortnightly
    Last-modified: Fri, 1 Jan 2000 19:14 GMT
    Copyright: Copyright 1996-2000 by David Harley and contributors
    Maintainer: David Harley <>

    Viruses and the Macintosh
    by David Harley
    Version 1.6b: 7th January 2000

    Significant changes from the previous version are flagged with +
    symbols in the first two columns at the start of the relevant line
    or section. Amendments of minor grammatical or syntactical errors
    are not flagged unless they affect factual accuracy or clarity.

    Sections tagged with [DH] or [SL] are hangovers from the time when
    maintenance of the FAQ was shared between David Harley and Susan Lesch,
    and usually denote personal opinions the originator didn't feel the other
    maintainer should be held responsible for. Untagged sections using
    the first person are usually attributable to David Harley.

    This version of the FAQ primarily reflects my involvement in setting
    up an information resource at ICSA. This will affect the availability
    of the FAQ. The next version will require extensive URL checking,
    and will probably introduce major formatting changes.

    David Harley

    Table of Contents

    1.0 Copyright Notice
    2.0 Preface
    3.0 Availability of this FAQ
    4.0 Mission Statement
    5.0 Where to get further information
    5.1 Computer Virus FAQs
    5.2 EICAR
    5.3 "Robert Slade's Guide to Computer Viruses"
    5.4 Web sites
    5.5 Virus Bulletin
    5.6 Macro virus information resources
    5.7 Other resources
    6.0 How many viruses affect the Macintosh?
    7.0 What viruses can affect Mac users?
    7.1 Mac-specific system and file infectors
    7.2 HyperCard Infectors
    7.3 Mac Trojan Horses
    7.4 Macro viruses, trojans, variants
    7.5 Other Operating Systems, emulation on a Mac
    7.6 AutoStart 9805 Worms
    7.7 Esperanto.4733
    8.0 What's the best antivirus package for the Macintosh?
    8.1 Microsoft's Protection Tools
    8.2 Disinfectant Retired
    8.3 Demo Software
    8.4 Other freeware/shareware packages
    8.5 Commercial Packages
    8.6 Contact Details
    9.0 Welcome Datacomp
    10.0 Hoaxes and myths
    10.1 Good Times virus
    10.2 Modems and Hardware viruses
    10.3 Email viruses
    10.4 JPEG/GIF viruses
    10.5 Hoaxes Help
    11.0 Glossary
    12.0 General Reference Section
    12.1 Mac Newsgroups
    12.2 References and Publications
    13.0 Mac Troubleshooting

    1.0 Copyright Notice

    Copyright on this document remains with the author(s), and all
    rights are reserved. However, it may be freely distributed and
    quoted - accurately, and with due credit.

    It may not be reproduced for profit or distributed in part or as a
    whole with any product for which a charge is made, except with the
    prior permission of the copyright holder(s). To obtain such
    permission, please contact the maintainer of the FAQ.

    Primary author and maintainer of this document is David Harley,
    Comments and additional material have been received with gratitude
    from Ronnie Sutherland, Henri Delger, Mike Groh and Eugene Spafford.
    Thanks to Bruce Burrell, Michael Wright, Peter Gersmann, David Miller,
    Ladd Van Tol, Eric Hildum, Jeremy Goldman, Kevin White, Bill
    Jackson, Robert Slade, Robin Dover, and John Norstad for their
    comments and suggestions. Special thanks to Susan Lesch for her
    contributions, editing, and maintenance chores as co-maintainer.

    2.0 Preface

    This document is intended to help individuals with computer
    virus-related problems and queries, and clarify the issue
    of computer viruses on Macintosh platforms. It should *not* be
    regarded as being in any sense authoritative, and has no legal
    standing. The authors accept no responsibility for errors or
    omissions, or for any ill effects resulting from the use of any
    information contained in this document.

    Corrections and additional material are welcome, especially if
    kept polite.... Contributions will, if incorporated, remain the
    copyright of the contributor, and credited accordingly within
    the FAQ.

    David Harley <>

    3.0 Availability of this FAQ

    ++The reference site for this FAQ is now However, my own
    site at <> will be the
    first place new versions will be posted.

    It's also available from Henri Delger's Prodigy Anti-Virus Center
    file library, as is the alt.comp.virus FAQ. It will probably be available
    shortly from <>

    There are HTML versions at:

    I have no control over the content of these sites, and can't guarantee
    that they're up-to-date.

    4.0 Mission Statement

    This document is a little different to the alt.comp.virus FAQ,
    which David Harley also co-maintains (at time of writing). It is
    concerned with one platform only, and though it deals with the
    Macintosh platform at more length than the alt.comp.virus FAQ can
    be expected to, it is a great deal shorter. Nor is there the same
    degree of urgency about the Mac virus field, though the risk
    element may be somewhat underestimated in general, at present. This
    FAQ originated from a concern over the spread of macro viruses, a
    theme that is taken up below. Since questions about Macs and
    viruses tend to appear more often in the Mac groups than
    alt.comp.virus or Virus-L, distribution of this FAQ is wider.

    5.0 Where to get further information

    5.1 Computer Virus FAQs
    Computer Virus FAQ for New Users
    A mainly non-Mac virus FAQ posted to news.newusers.questions,
    alt.newbie, alt.newbies, alt.answers, and news.answers.

    alt.comp.virus FAQ
    This is posted to alt.comp.virus approximately fortnightly. It
    includes a document that summarizes and gives contact information
    for a number of other virus-related FAQs; (not much Mac-specific
    material). The latest version is available from:
    <> but the reference version will
    eventually be the one at (page currently under construction).

    VIRUS-L/comp.virus FAQ
    The Virus-L/comp.virus FAQ (also fairly low on Mac-specific
    information) is regularly posted to the comp.virus newsgroup
    (version 2.0 at time of writing). This FAQ is very long and very
    thorough. The document is subject to revision, so the file name may
    change. The latest version may be found at:

    5.2 EICAR
    ++Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit, Virex, and NAV (Norton AntiVirus
    for Macintosh) now support the EICAR test. This article by
    Paul Ducklin of Sophos explains the EICAR test file:
    <>. [SL]

    5.3 "Robert Slade's Guide to Computer Viruses"
    The disk included with the 2nd Edition of this excellent general
    resource includes most of the information available at the
    University of Hamburg (see 5.5). The book also contains a
    reasonable quantity of Mac-friendly information. The disk includes
    a copy of Disinfectant 3.6, which is now out-of-date -- 3.7.1 is
    the latest and final release. For more information about this book:
    <> [Springer]

    ++Very few books primarily about computer viruses deal at any length
    with Mac viruses (I can't think of one, at present). Some general
    books on the Mac touch on the subject, but none I can think of add
    anything useful. Some of the "Totally Witless User's Guide
    to......." books dealing with security in general include
    information on PC -and- Mac viruses. Unfortunately, the quality of
    virus-related information in such publications is generally low, and
    there are few or no books on computer viruses in general which are
    both recent -and- accurate.

    5.4 Web sites
    Many major vendors have a virus information database online on
    their Web sites. Symantec (, Network Associates
    (, Sophos ( and Dr. Solomon's
    ( include Macintosh virus information.

    Precise URLs tend to come and go, but you might like to try the

    Symantec Antivirus Research Center
    Virus Encyclopedia based on Project VGrep: huge, and now has a
    search engine. Probably the most complete [SL]. But not always the
    most accurate [DH]. ;-)

    Network Associates, formerly McAfee Associates:
    Virus Information Library
    Macintosh Viruses

    Sophos Plc
    <> "Macintosh Virus Desriptions"
    Part of work in progress by Ken Dunham
    + <> (new domain name)

    Mac Virus
    ++[Site closed 5th September 1999]

    Dr Solomon's "Mac Viral Zoo"
    Starting to go out of date

    ++Keep watching <>

    5.5 Virus Bulletin
    The expensive (but, for the professional, essential) periodical
    Virus Bulletin includes Mac-specific information from time to time.
    However, if you have no interest in PC issues, you probably won't
    consider it worth the expense.

    Virus Bulletin Ltd
    The Pentagon
    OX14 3YP

    +44 1235 555139

    The proceedings of the 1997 Virus Bulletin conference contained a
    paper by David Harley which significantly expands on many of the
    issues addressed in this FAQ. Contact Virus Bulletin for further
    information on the annual conference and on obtaining the
    proceedings. The paper can also be found (by permission of Virus
    Bulletin) at the author's website <>
    and at <>

    5.6 Macro virus information resources
    ++University of Hamburg Virus Test Center Macro Virus List is the
    definitive listing. All known macro viruses, some only found in
    research labs, some in the wild. Doesn't include information on
    individual viruses apart from name and platform, and somewhat
    irregularly maintained.

    Other Sources:
    <> (under Virus Information)

    [The following absolute URLs may change: such is the way of Web
    administrators..... If you get an error message, try the first part
    of the URL, e.g. <> and drill down from there.]

    Dr Solomon's Software Ltd.

    Central Command

    Network Associates

    Data Fellows

    ++Richard Martin put together an FAQ on the subject of Word viruses.
    It's well out-of-date, though, and was always inaccurate in some
    ++N.B.This URL may be out of date. There is a copy of what I believe
    to be the last released version at SherpaSoft:

    5.7 Other resources

    There are excellent pages on HyperCard viruses at HyperActive
    Software. There is information on HyperCard infectors, a link to
    Bill Swagerty's free Vaccine utility for detecting and cleaning
    them, a note on false positives reported by commercial software,
    inoculation, and a free HyperCard virus detection service.

    The CIAC virus database includes entries for PC, Macintosh, and a
    number of other platforms. The Macintosh section also includes a
    number of joke programs and one or two apparent hoaxes.

    Virus Test Center, Hamburg: AntiVirus Catalog/CARObase early work
    These links may be out-of-date: if they don't work, try

    Last we checked [03-Sep-97], these sites probably need updating,
    though some older files do have historical value. Info-Mac mirrors
    have Macintosh information, but includes some outdated virus
    information and software at this writing; still, always worth a

    Also of interest, again sometimes outdated:

    Kevin Harris's Virus Reference was last updated 31-Aug-95. This
    HyperCard stack requires HyperCard 2.1 or later.

    6.0 How many viruses affect the Macintosh?

    There are around 40 Mac-specific viruses and related threats.

    ++Mac users with Word 6 or versions of Word/Excel supporting Visual Basic
    for Applications, however, are vulnerable to infection by macro
    viruses which are specific to these applications. Indeed, these
    viruses can, potentially, infect other files on any hardware
    platform supporting these versions of these applications. I don't
    know of a macro virus with a Mac-specific payload that actually
    works at present, but such a payload is entirely possible.
    ++Office 98 applications are in principle vulnerable to most of the
    threats to which Office 97 applications are vulnerable. I'll return
    to this subject when and if time allows. [DH]

    Word Mac version 5.1 and below do not support WordBasic, and are
    not, therefore, vulnerable to direct infection. Not only do these
    versions not only understand embedded macros, but they can't read
    the Word 6 file format unaided. There is, however, at least one
    freeware utility which allows Word 5.x users to read Word 6 files.
    This will not support execution of Word 6 (or WinWord 2) macros in
    Word 5.x, so I would not expect either an infection routine or a
    payload routine to be able to execute within this application.

    However, Word 5.x users may contribute indirectly to the spread of
    infected files across platforms and systems, since it is perfectly
    possible for a user whose own system is uninfectable to act as a
    conduit for the transmission of infected documents, whether or not
    s/he reads it personally.

    Files infected with a PC-specific file virus (this excludes macro
    viruses) can only execute on a Macintosh running DOS or DOS/Windows
    emulation, if then. They can, of course, spread across platforms
    simply by copying infected files from one system to another.

    DOS diskettes infected with a boot sector virus can be read on a
    Mac with Apple File Exchange, PC Exchange, DOS Mounter etc. without
    (normally) risk to the Mac. However, leaving such an infected disk
    in the drive while booting an emulator such as SoftPC can mean that
    the virus attempts to infect the logical PC drive with
    unpredictable results.

    I am aware of at least one instance of a Mac diskette which, when
    read on a PC running a utility for reading Mac-formatted disks
    after being infected with a boot-sector infector, became unreadable
    as a consequence of the boot track infection.

    Some Mac viruses may damage files on Sun systems running MAE or

    7.0 What viruses can affect Mac users?

    Not all variants are listed here. It was originally intended to
    reference all the major variants at least by name eventually, but
    since the information is of academic interest at best to most users
    (and available elsewhere anyway), it's no longer considered a
    priority. The main problem affecting Mac users nowadays is the
    spread of macro viruses, and I can't possibly find time to
    catalogue them individually, so they are only considered generally.
    Native Mac viruses are rather rarely seen nowadays, and most people
    don't need to know about them in detail -- in fact, what they need
    most is to know that their favoured antivirus software will deal
    with them. Note that I'm not primarily in the business of hands-on
    virus analysis, and cannot accept responsibility for descriptive errors
    based on third-party information. [DH]

    The following varieties are listed below:
    7.1 Mac-specific system and file infectors
    7.2 HyperCard Infectors
    7.3 Mac Trojans
    7.4 Macro viruses, trojans, variants
    7.5 Other Operating Systems, emulation on a Mac
    7.6 AutoStart 9805 Worms
    7.7 Esperanto 4733

    7.1 Mac-specific system and file infectors
    AIDS - infects application and system files. No intentional damage.
    (nVIR B strain)

    Aladin - close relative of Frankie

    Anti (Anti-A/Anti-Ange, Anti-B, Anti Variant) - can't spread under
    system 7.x, or System 6 under MultiFinder. Can damage applications
    so that they can't be 100% repaired.

    CDEF - infects desktop files. No intentional damage, and doesn't
    spread under system 7.x.

    CLAP: nVIR variant that spoofs Disinfectant to avoid detection
    (Disinfectant 3.6 recognizes it).

    Code 1: file infector. Renames the hard drive to "Trent Saburo".
    Accidental system crashes possible.

    Code 252: infects application and system files. Triggers when run
    between June 6th and December 31st. Runs a gotcha message ("You
    have a virus. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Now erasing all disks...
    [etc.]"), then self-deletes. Despite the message, no intentional
    damage is done, though shutting down the Mac instead of clicking to
    continue could cause damage. Can crash System 7 or damage files,
    but doesn't spread beyond the System file. Doesn't spread under
    System 6 with MultiFinder beyond System and MultiFinder. Can cause
    various forms of accidental damage.

    Code 9811: hides applications, replacing them with garbage files
    named "something like 'FIDVCXWGJKJWLOI'." According to Ken Dunham
    who reported this virus in November, "The most obvious symptom of
    the virus is a desktop that looks like electronic worms and a
    message that reads 'You have been hacked by the Pretorians.'"

    Code 32767: once a month tries to delete documents. This virus is
    not known to be in circulation.

    Flag: unrelated to WDEF A and B, but was given the name WDEF-C in
    some anti-virus software. Not intentionally damaging but when
    spreading it overwrites any existing 'WDEF' resource of ID '0', an
    action which might damage some files. This virus is not known to be
    in circulation.

    Frankie: only affects the Aladdin emulator on the Atari or Amiga.
    Doesn't infect or trigger on real Macs or the Spectre emulator.
    Infects application files and the Finder. Draws a bomb icon and
    displays 'Frankie says: No more piracy!"

    ****: infects application and System files. No intentional damage.
    (nVIR B strain)

    Init 17: infects System file and applications. Displays message
    "From the depths of Cyberspace" the first time it triggers.
    Accidental damage, especially on 68K machines.

    Init 29 (Init 29 A, B): Spreads rapidly. Infects system files,
    applications, and document files (document files can't infect other
    files, though). May display a message if a locked floppy is
    accessed on an infected system 'The disk "xxxxx" needs minor
    repairs. Do you want to repair it?'. No intentional damage, but can
    cause several problems - Multiple infections, memory errors, system
    crashes, printing problems, MultiFinder problems, startup document

    Init 1984: Infects system extensions (INITs). Works under Systems 6
    and 7. Triggers on Friday 13th. Damages files by renaming them,
    changing file TYPE and file CREATOR, creation and modification
    dates, and sometimes by deleting them.

    Init-9403 (SysX): Infects applications and Finder under systems 6
    and 7. Attempts to overwrite whole startup volume and disk
    information on all connected hard drives. Only found on Macs
    running the Italian version of MacOS.

    Init-M: Replicates under System 7 only. Infects INITs and
    application files. Triggers on Friday 13th. Similar damage
    mechanisms to INIT-1984. May rename a file or folder to "Virus
    MindCrime". Rarely, may delete files.

    MacMag (Aldus, Brandow, Drew, Peace): first distributed as a
    HyperCard stack Trojan, but only infected System files. Triggered
    (displayed a peace message and self-deleted on March 2nd 1988, so
    very rarely found.

    MBDF (A,B): originated from the Tetracycle, Tetricycle or
    "tetris-rotating" Trojan. The A strain was also distributed in
    Obnoxious Tetris and Ten Tile Puzzle. Infect applications and
    system files including System and Finder. Can cause accidental
    damage to the System file and menu problems. A minor variant of
    MBDF B appeared in summer 1997: Disinfectant and Virex have been
    updated accordingly.

    MDEF (MDEF A/Garfield, MDEF B/Top Cat, C, D): infect System file
    and application files (D doesn't infect System). No intentional
    damage, but can cause crashes and damaged files.

    MDEF-E and MDEF-F: described as simple and benign. They infect
    applications and system files with an 'MDEF' resource ID '0', not
    otherwise causing file damage. These viruses are not known to be in

    nCAM: nVIR variant

    nVIR (nVIR A, B, C - AIDS, ****, Hpat, Jude, MEV#, nFlu): infect
    System and any opened applications. Extant versions don't cause
    intentional damage. Payload is either beeping or (nVIR A) saying
    "Don't panic" if MacInTalk is installed.

    nVIR-f: nVIR variant.

    prod: nVIR variant

    Scores (Eric, Vult, NASA, San Jose Flu): aimed to attack two
    applications that were never generally released. Can cause
    accidental damage, though - system crashes, problems printing or
    with MacDraw and Excel. Infects applications, Finder, DA Handler.

    SevenDust-A through G (MDEF 9806-A through D, also known as 666, E
    was at first called "Graphics Accelerator"): a family of five
    viruses which spread both through 'MDEF' resources and a System
    extension created by that resource. The first four variants are not
    known to be in circulation. Two of these viruses cause no other
    damage. On the sixth day of the month, MDEF 9806-B may erase all
    non-application files on the current volume. The SARC encyclopedia
    calls MDEF 9806-C, "polymorphic and encrypted, no payload," and
    MDEF 9806-D, "encrypting, polymorphic, symbiotic," and says the
    symbiotic part, "alters a 'WIND' resource from the host
    application." SevenDust E, not to be confused with the legitimate
    ATI driver "Graphics Accelerator", began as a trojan horse released
    to Info-Mac and deleted there on or about September 26, 1998. Takes
    two forms, 'INIT' resource ID '33' in an extension named
    "\001Graphics Accelerator" and an 'MDEF' resource ID '1' to '255'.
    Between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. on the sixth and twelfth day of any
    month, the virus will try to delete all non-application files on
    the startup disk. John Dalgliesh describes "Graphics Accelerator"
    on his Web page for AntiGax, a free anti-SevenDust E utility; any
    errors here in translation are not his. SevenDust F uses a trojan
    "ExtensionConflict", common extensions names, and creator 'ACCE'.[SL]

    T4 (A, B, C, D): infects applications, Finder, and tries to modify
    System so that startup code is altered. Under System 6 and 7.0,
    INITs and system extensions don't load. Under 7.0.1, the Mac may be
    unbootable. Damage to infected files and altered System is not
    repairable by Disinfectant. The virus masquerades as Disinfectant,
    so as to spoof behaviour blockers such as Gatekeeper. Originally
    included in versions 2.0/2.1 of the public domain game GoMoku.

    T4-D spreads from application to application on launch by appending
    itself to the 'CODE' resource. Deletes files other than the System
    file from the System Folder, and documents, and is termed dangerous.
    The D strain is not known to be in circulation [SL].

    WDEF (A,B): infects desktop file only. Doesn't spread under System
    7. No intentional damage, but causes beeping, crashes, font
    corruption and other problems.

    zero: nVIR variant.

    Zuc (A, B, C): infects applications. The cursor moves diagonally
    and uncontrollably across the screen when the mouse button is held
    down when an infected application is run. No other intentional
    damage is done.

    7.2 HyperCard infectors
    These are a somewhat esoteric breed, but a couple have been seen
    since Disinfectant was last upgraded in 1995, and most of the
    commercial scanners detect them.

    Dukakis - infects the Home stack, then other stacks used
    subsequently. Displays the message "Dukakis for President", then
    deletes itself, so not often seen.

    HC 9507 - infects the Home stack, then other running stacks and
    randomly chosen stacks on the startup disk. On triggering, displays
    visual effects or hangs the system. Overwrites stack resources, so
    a repaired stack may not run properly.

    HC 9603 - infects the Home stack, then other running stacks. No
    intended effects, but may damage the Home stack.

    HC "Two Tunes" (referred to by some sources as "Three Tunes") -
    infects stack scripts. Visual/Audio effects: 'Hey, what are you
    doing?' message; plays the tune "Muss I denn"; plays the tune
    "Behind the Blue Mountains"; displays HyperCard toolbox and pattern
    menus; displays 'Don't panic!' fifteen minutes after activation.
    Even sources which describe this virus as "Three Tunes" seem to
    describe the symptoms consistently with the description here, but
    we will, for completeness, attempt to resolve any possible
    confusion when time allows. This virus has no known with the PC
    file infector sometimes known as Three Tunes.

    MerryXmas - appends to stack script. On execution, attempts to
    infect the Home stack, which then infects other stacks on access.
    There are several strains, most of which cause system crashes and
    other anomalies. At least one strain replaces the Home stack script
    and deletes stacks run subsequently. Variants include Merry2Xmas,
    Lopez, and the rather destructive Crudshot. [Ken Dunham discovered
    the merryXmas virus. His program merryxmasWatcher 2.0 was very
    popular and still can eradicate the most common two strains,
    merryXmas and merry2Xmas. merryxmasWatcher 2.0 is outdated for the
    rest this family.]

    Antibody is a recent virus-hunting virus which propagates between
    stacks checking for and removing MerryXmas, and inserting an
    inoculation script.

    Independance (sic) Day - reported in July, 1997. It attempts to
    to be destructive, but fortunately is not well enough written to be
    more than a nuisance. More information at:

    Blink - reported in August, 1998. Nondestructive but spreads;
    infected stacks blink once per second starting in January, 1999.

    7.3 Mac Trojan Horses
    These are often unsubtle and immediate in their effects: while
    these effects may be devastating, Trojans are usually very
    traceable to their point of entry. The few Mac-specific Trojans are
    rarely seen, but of course the commercial scanners generally detect

    ChinaTalk - system extension - supposed to be sound driver, but
    actually deletes folders.

    CPro - supposed to be an update to Compact Pro, but attempts to
    format currently mounted disks.

    + ExtensionConflict - supposed to identify Extensions conflicts, but
    installs one of the six SevenDust a.k.a. 666 viruses.

    FontFinder - supposed to lists fonts used in a document, but
    actually deletes folders.

    MacMag - HyperCard stack (New Apple Products) that was the origin
    of the MacMag virus. When run, infected the System file, which then
    infected System files on floppies. Set to trigger and self-destruct
    on March 2nd, 1988, so rarely found.

    Mosaic - supposed to display graphics, but actually mangles
    directory structures.

    NVP - modifies the System file so that no vowels can be typed.
    Originally found masquerading as 'New Look', which redesigns the

    Steroid - Control Panel - claims to improve QuickDraw speed, but
    actually mangles the directory structure.

    Tetracycle - implicated in the original spread of MBDF

    Virus Info - purported to contain virus information but actually
    trashed disks. Not to be confused with Virus Reference.

    Virus Reference 2.1.6 mentions an 'Unnamed PostScript hack' which
    disables PostScript printers and requires replacement of a chip on
    the printer logic board to repair. A Mac virus guru says:

    "The PostScript 'Trojan' was basically a PostScript job that
    toggled the printer password to some random string a number of
    times. Some Apple laser printers have a firmware counter that
    allows the password to only be changed a set number of times
    (because of PRAM behavior or licensing -- I don't remember which),
    so eventually the password would get "stuck" at some random string
    that the user would not know. I have not heard any reports of
    anyone suffering from this in many years."

    AppleScript Trojans - A demonstration destructive compiled
    AppleScript was posted to the newsgroups alt.comp.virus,
    comp.sys.mac.misc, comp.sys.mac.system, it.comp.macintosh,
    microsoft.public.word.mac, nl.comp.sys.mac, no.mac, and on 16-Aug-97, apparently in
    response to a call for help originally posted to alt.comp.virus on
    14-Aug-97 and followup on 15-Aug-97. On 03-Sep-97, MacInTouch
    published Xavier Bury's finding of a second AppleScript trojan
    horse, which, like the call for help followup, mentioned Hotline
    servers. It reportedly sends out private information while running
    in the background. A note to users from Hotline Communications CEO
    Adam Hinkley is posted at
    AppleScripts should be downloaded only from known trusted sources.
    It is nigh impossible for an average person to know what any given
    compiled script will do.

    7.4 Macro viruses, trojans, variants
    At the time of the longstanding second-to-last upgrade of
    Disinfectant (version 3.6 in early 1995), there were no known macro
    viruses in the wild, apart from HyperCard infectors. In any case,
    Disinfectant was always intended to deal with system viruses, not
    trojans or macro/script viruses. However, many users are unaware of
    these distinctions and still assume that Disinfectant is a complete
    solution, even after its effective demise (in fact, there were
    people still relying on Gatekeeper long after its author disowned

    Unfortunately, the number of known macro viruses runs into several
    thousand, though the number in the wild is far fewer.

    Most macro viruses (if they have a warhead at all) target Intel
    platforms and assume FAT-based directory structures, so they
    usually have no discernible effect on Macs when they trigger.
    Viruses that manipulate text strings within a document may work
    just as well on a Macintosh as on a PC.

    In any case, the main costs of virus control are not recovery from
    virus payloads, but the costs of establishing detection and
    protection (or of not establishing them). The costs of not
    establishing these measures can be considerable, irrespective of
    damage caused on infected machines, especially in corporate
    environments. Secondary distribution of infected documents may
    result in:

    * civil action - for instance, inadvertent distribution of an
    infected document to external organisations may be in breach of
    contractual obligations

    * legal action in terms of breach of data-protection legislation
    such as the UK Data Protection Act or the European Data Protection
    directive. The eighth principle of the Data Protection Act, for
    instance, requires that security measures are taken to protect
    against unauthorised access to, and alteration, disclosure and
    destruction of personal data, or its accidental loss.

    * damage to reputation - no legitimate organisation wants to be
    seen as being riddled with viruses.

    Since Word 6.x for Macintosh supports WordBasic macros, it is as
    vulnerable as Word 6.x and 7.x on Intel platforms to being infected
    by macro viruses, and therefore to generating other infected
    documents (or, strictly speaking, templates). Working Excel viruses
    are now beginning to appear also, and any future Macintosh
    application that supports Visual Basic for Applications will also
    be vulnerable. Note also that the possibility of virus-infected
    files embedded as objects in files associated with other
    applications: this possibility exists on any platform that supports

    ++Office 98 is in general vulnerable to infection by most viruses which
    affect corresponding applications in Office 97.

    Macro viruses are therefore highly transmissible via
    Macintoshes, even if they don't have a destructive effect on
    Motorola platforms, if there is an equivalent application
    available on the Macintosh. For instance, although Word for
    Windows versions before vs. 6 support WordBasic, Word
    versions for the Mac up to and including version 5.1 do not.
    [Thus Word 5.1 users can not be directly infected, but may,
    like anyone, pass on infected documents to vulnerable systems.]]

    Network Associates, Symantec, and Intego all make known-virus
    scanners that detect a range of macro viruses. Microsoft make
    available a free 'protection tool' whose effectiveness is often
    overestimated. (See below.)

    ++[I'm no longer able to find any reference on Intego's site to Rival:
    their efforts seems to be focused on their personal firewall for Macintosh.]

    For further information on specific macro viruses, try one of the
    information resources given earlier.

    7.5 Other Operating Systems, emulation on a Mac
    Any Mac running any sort of DOS or Windows emulation such as
    Virtual PC, SoftPC, SoftWindows, RealPC, or a DOS compatibility
    card is a potential target for any PC virus, including Boot Sector
    Infectors/Multipartites; (effects will vary). It is highly
    recommended that anyone with such a system should run a reputable,
    up-to-date PC antivirus program under emulation, as well as a good
    Mac antivirus program. [Dr. Solomon's for the Mac detected PC boot
    sector infectors as well as Mac viruses, but didn't detect PC file
    viruses (apart from macro viruses), and so was not sufficient
    protection for a Mac with DOS emulation.]

    Recommendations for defending PC systems or PC emulation on Macs
    are slightly out-of-scope for this FAQ. In fact, I don't know of
    any formal testing for PC antivirus software in the context of PC
    emulation on Macs. I've done some informal testing (referred to in
    another paper), but am not prepared to make vendor-specific
    recommendations on the basis of such testing. F-Prot, AVP, and Dr
    Solomon's are particularly well-regarded PC antivirus packages, of
    which some components on some platforms are available as freeware
    or for evaluation, but their efficacy in the context of PC
    emulation is not well tested or documented.

    To find a commercial or shareware package relevant to PCs, check
    through the independent comparative reviews sites:
    University of Hamburg Virus Test Center
    University of Tampere Virus Research Unit
    Secure Computing
    Virus Bulletin

    + has an aggregation of PC anti-virus reviews links.

    Robert Michael Slade's lists may also be helpful.

    7.6 AutoStart 9805 Worms
    AutoStart 9805 is not a virus, but a worm: that is, it replicates
    by copying itself, but doesn't attach itself parasitically to a
    host program. The original took hold rapidly in Hong Kong and
    Taiwan in April 1998, and has been reported on at least four
    continents. In addition to the original worm, there are five
    variants. Virus Bulletin, July, 1998, includes a comprehensive
    analysis of AutoStart and some of its variants.

    CIAC Bulletin I-067 is based on Eugene Spafford's information
    release on the original AutoStart worm. Unfortunately,this is now a
    little out-of-date, particularly as regards the update status of
    the antivirus software it mentions. Nor does it mention any of the
    subsequently discovered variants.

    Symptoms: Perhaps the most noticeable symptom of the worms is that
    an infected system will _lock up and churn with unexplained disk
    activity_ every 6, 10, or 30 minutes.[SL]

    Affected platforms: any PowerMac. Macintoshes and clones driven by
    Motorola 680x0 series CPUs can't run the replicative code. It works
    under any version of Mac OS, if QuickTime 2.0 or later is installed
    and CD-ROM AutoPlay is enabled in the "QuickTime Settings" Control

    Transmission media: HFS or HFS+ volumes (hard disks, diskettes,
    most types of removable media, even disk images). Audio CDs can't
    transmit the virus, and it isn't necessary to disable "Audio CD

    Transmission method: infected media contain an invisible
    application file named "DB" or "BD" or "DELDB" in the root
    directory (type APPL, creator ????). This is an AutoStart file:
    i.e. it will run automatically if CD-ROM autoplay is enabled. If
    the host Mac isn't already infected, it copies itself to the
    Extensions folder. The new copy is renamed "Desktop Print Spooler"
    or "Desktop Printr Spooler", or "DELDesktop Print Spooler"
    respectively (type appe, creator ????). Unlike the legitimate
    Desktop Printer Spooler extension, the worm file has the invisible
    attribute set, and isn't listed as a running process by the system
    software, though it can be seen with Process Watcher or Macsbug.
    After copying itself, it reboots the system and is now launched
    every time the system restarts. At approximately 6, 10, or 30
    minute intervals, it examines mounted volumes to see if they're
    infected: if not, it writes itself to the root directory and sets
    up AutoStart (however, AutoStart won't work on a server volume).

    Damage: files with names ending "data", "cod" or "csa" are targeted
    if the data fork is larger than 100 bytes. Files with names ending
    "dat" are targeted if the whole file is c. 2Mb or larger. Targeted
    files are attacked by overwriting the data fork (up to the 1st Mb)
    with garbage.

    Besides the original, there are five variants: AutoStart 9805-B,
    which is less noticeable but can cause irreparable damage to files
    of type 'JPEG', 'TIFF', and 'EPSF'; AutoStart 9805-C and AutoStart
    9805-D which do not intentionally damage data; AutoStart 9805-E
    which spreads like B and is most similar to the original; and
    AutoStart 9805-F which is most similar to A and E.
    Dr Solomon's, Sophos, and Symantec had descriptions on the Web:
    ++Dead Mac Virus link cleaned.

    Detection: updates to deal with the worms are available for Virex
    (, for NAV and SAM
    (, and for Rival

    The last versions of VirusScan for Mac and Disinfectant did not detect
    AutoStart. [Reference to Dr Solomon's for Mac removed, as the product is
    no longer supported.]

    Prevention: uninfected systems can be protected by disabling the
    AutoStart option in QuickTime settings (QuickTime 2.5 or later only
    - earlier versions don't have a disable option). This should also
    prevent infection by future malware exploiting the same loophole,
    but will fail if a setup is booted from a volume with an infected
    Extensions Folder [SL].

    Removal: the easiest and safest method for most people will be to
    use the updated version of their favoured anti-virus software, as
    it becomes available.

    The worms can be also be removed manually.
    * Reboot with extensions disabled (hold down the shift key till an
    alert box tells you that extensions are off).
    * Use Find File to search all volumes for all instances of a file
    called "DB" or "BD" or "DELDB" with the invisibility attribute set
    (hold down Option key when clicking on "Name" pop-up menu to select
    for visibility). Trash 'em.
    * Use Find File to find and trash an invisible "Desktop Print
    Spooler", "Desktop Printr Spooler", or "DELDesktop Print Spooler"
    file (-not- Desktop Printer Spooler, which is a legitimate and
    usually necessary system file).
    * Empty the trash.
    * Disable AutoStart in QuickTime Settings Control Panel.
    * Restart.

    7.7 Esperanto.4733
    This probably doesn't belong here. It's a PC file infector which
    works with a number of PC executable file formats. When it was
    first seen, it was reported to be a multiplatform virus capable of
    executing under some circumstances on Macintoshes. Subsequent
    reports indicate that this belief results from misinformation on
    the part of the author. However, at least two reputable PC
    anti-virus vendors still list it as capable of activating on a
    Macintosh. No Mac scanner is known to attempt to detect it.

    8.0 What's the best antivirus package for the Macintosh?

    As ever, we can't give a definitive answer to this. The best choice
    depends on subjective criteria and individal needs. Nonetheless,
    Here are some thoughts on the main contenders.

    8.1 Microsoft's Protection Tools
    Microsoft's Macro Virus Protection Tools originally detected
    Concept (Nuclear and DMV were also mentioned in the documentation,
    but were not identified specifically by the tools). Principally,
    they merely warned users that the document they are about to open
    contained macros and offered the choice of opening the file without
    macros, opening it with macros, or cancelling the File Open. Later
    implementations built into the application are better on
    identifying a few specific viruses and on integration into Word
    itself, but should not be relied on for 100% effective detection,
    blocking and disinfection of macro viruses. More information from
    Microsoft may be available at the addresses below.
    <> (no longer accessible)
    AOL: the Word forum
    CompuServe: the Word forum
    Microsoft Product Support Services
    206-462-9673 (WinWord)
    206-635-7200 (Word Mac)

    NB The Protection Tool traps some File Open operations, but not
    all. There are a number of ways of opening a document which bypass
    it, some of which are rather commonly used (e.g. double-clicking or
    using the Recent Documents list).

    The Protection Tool can be used to scan for Concept-infected files,
    but there are a number of possible problems with it.

    * Earlier versions could only handle a limited size of directory
    tree, and ran very slowly if a large number of files required
    scanning. Speed is certainly still a problem: I can't say about the
    overflow problem.
    * Files created in Word for Windows won't be scanned until they've
    been opened in Word 6 for Mac (this is a system issue, not a bug in
    the code). However, Microsoft suggest that you open the file in
    Word for the Macintosh and save it before scanning. This will do
    the job, but will also infect your system, if the file is infected.
    If it's infected with a virus -other- than Concept, this could
    create problems if the Protection Tool is bypassed on a subsequent
    file open.
    * Infected files embedded in OLE2 files or e-mail files will not be
    * The Microsoft tools are not useful on non-English Windows systems
    (which may be run under Virtual PC or Real PC). SCANPROT cannot
    handle non-English documents, and will hang during the scanning
    process if it encounters a document created with a non-English
    version of Word. Microsoft's Excel add-in for the Laroux macro
    virus causes multiple file open buttons to appear in non-English
    versions of Excel, and so it has worse effects than the macro virus
    itself. Again this applies to Windows emulation; however, most
    virus protection and detection products are only tested in an
    English language environment, and may cause problems on non-English
    systems. [Thanks to Eric Hildum for this information.]

    Windows 95 users should be aware that SCANPROT is not recommended
    for use with MS Word 7.0a for Windows with internal detection
    enabled, as these two tools will cancel each other out.

    The Excel add-in for Macs removes only Laroux A and B.

    ++Office 98 moves the goalposts again. This issue will probably be
    addressed again here in more depth. In brief, Office 98 does a
    better job of implementing a primarily generic approach [i.e. "If
    it contains macros, it's suspicious: sort it out yourself...."],
    but whether this is enough is a question demanding more space and
    time than I have to spare right now. Office 97/98 include limited
    detection of a handful of known viruses during upconversion of
    macros. This is poorly implemented and in any case is only triggered
    when macros are converted to VBA from WordBasic. Vesselin Bontchev
    has considered macro upconversion at some length in papers for
    Virus Bulletin and EICAR conferences.

    ++Microsoft's home page has recommended using an ICSA-certified
    antivirus utility and sidesteps any hint of responsibility for any
    macro virus or SCANPROT related problems. However, ICSA does not
    currently certify Mac products, though this is being looked at.

    8.2 Disinfectant
    [On May 6th 1998, John Norstad, author of this widely-used freeware
    package announced that it was to be retired. 3.7.1 is the latest
    and last version, and it won't be updated to detect AutoStart 9805
    or any subsequent Macintosh malware. The main reason for this is
    that he doesn't have the resources to extend its capabilities to
    detect macro viruses, which have become by far the most significant
    virus problem for most Macintosh users.

    This is probably a wise decision, given the number of people who
    still overestimate the effectiveness of the package in the face of
    the macro virus threat. However, the entire Macintosh community
    owes John Norstad a debt of gratitude for making it freely
    available for so long, an act of altruism which has probably
    contributed very significantly to the comparative rarity of native
    Macintosh viruses.]

    Disinfectant was an excellent anti-virus package with exemplary
    documentation, and didn't cost a penny: however, it didn't detect
    all the forms of malware that a commercial package usually does,
    including HyperCard infectors, most Trojans, jokes or macro
    viruses. Unlike some commercial packages, it didn't scan compressed
    files, either: compressed files had to be expanded before scanning.
    Self-extracting archives were probably best scanned before
    unpacking, then again when unpacked.

    Disinfectant has been available up to now from the following
    sources, but this may not continue to be the case.:
    America Online
    Info-Mac mirrors in the ../vir/ directory

    The Disinfectant README was updated to README-IMPORTANT on 6 May
    1998, with the message, "because of the widespread and dangerous
    Microsoft macro virus problem," "...All Disinfectant users should
    switch..." to another program. README-IMPORTANT was updated again
    on 11 October 1998, adding, "In addition to the Autostart worm and
    the Microsoft macro viruses, several other new Mac viruses have
    appeared since Disinfectant's retirement in May. This makes it even
    more important that Disinfectant users switch..." to one of the
    commercial products.
    There is a copy of the retirement announcement on the Web:

    8.3 Demo Software
    Symantec has a 30-day fully-functioning trialware NAV (Norton
    AntiVirus for Macintosh). Update it with current definitions.

    Network Associates has a 30-day fully-functioning evaluation
    version of Virex 5.9.1. The Virex trial includes the application,
    not the control panel.
    Update the demo with current definitions:

    Sophos also has a 30-day evaluation, also fully-functioning,
    which includes the SWEEP application. The demo supports both
    English and Japanese.

    ++Intego has a limited-function French demo of Rival, "miniRival."
    <> [This seems to have disappeared,
    along with Rival itself - 11-12-99]

    Disinfector 1.0 is described by its author as shareware. However,
    it's strictly speaking a limited-runtime demo -- it stops
    functioning after 20 trial runs on one system. It's described as a
    beta release, but the author expects users to register it at a
    charge of $30 [subsequently reduced to $15]: in return, they get a
    version which can be used an unlimited number of times. It only
    detects a handful of Mac system viruses which the author claims
    that commercial vendors have not detected, and have not been
    reported in the wild. In the early days of virus/antivirus
    technology, a number of utilities were made available which
    addressed only one or a few viruses, and a proliferation of free
    AutoStart worm detectors continues that honourable tradition.
    However, charging for this particular utility puts it into the same
    arena as the commercial scanners which detect a far wider range of
    threats and for which full support is available, an area in which
    it cannot at present compete. Disinfector was briefly available at
    Info-Mac, but has since been removed.
    ++[I suspect that this product has been removed from circulation, but
    haven't checked with the author. This section will probably be amended
    or removed in the next version of the FAQ, when I've checked.]

    There have also been a number of proposals since John Norstad
    announced the retirement of Disinfectant, suggesting that if the
    code was made public, it would be possible to maintain and further
    develop Disinfectant, possibly still as a freeware product. This is
    misguided, for a number of reasons.

    * It misses one of the main points of Norstad's announcement, which
    is to acknowledge the dangers of continuing to develop a scanner
    which detects only one class of virus, when so many people have
    laboured so long under the misapprehension that it was a complete
    * Disinfectant -has- been developed further. VirusScan is based on
    Disinfectant technology (under licence), and NAI are in a much
    better position to develop it as commercial-grade software than a
    group of well-meaning individuals without the specialised skills
    and resources of a mainstream anti-virus development team. Indeed,
    it may be that the terms of that agreement would prevent Norstad
    from making the code public even if he wanted to (I doubt that he
    * Making the code public, even to a limited circle, would increase
    the chances of its falling into irresponsible hands. In fact, the
    online documentation has long stated that the code for the
    detection engine is not available, though some of the interface
    code was. (I'm paraphrasing from memory: I may well check out
    exactly what it says for the next update of the FAQ.)
    * To think that a committee of well-intentioned amateurs (or a
    single ambitious amateur can develop Disinfectant to the same high
    standard that it achieved through its lifetime demonstrates a
    profound underestimation of the difficulties of maintaining (let
    alone creating) a first-class known-virus scanner. [DH] Curiously,
    the same fallacies have recently been been aired on a Unix virus
    discussion list.

    8.4 Other freeware/shareware packages
    For other freeware\shareware Mac packages, try Info-Mac mirrors

    The University of Texas holds some older documentation on Mac

    Tracker INIT and DelProtect INIT, both by Ioannis Galidakis, were
    first released on 19-Nov-98. Tracker is a behavior blocker something
    like the retired program GateKeeper. DelProtect protects against
    malicious file deletion. Tracker is now at version 1.1. Scanner 1.1x
    also by Ioannis Galidakis was released 15-Jan-99, and is a free,
    generic, heuristic 68k virus scanner for advanced Macintosh users.

    John Dalgliesh has created Agax, an extensible, free anti-virus
    program which replaces his program AntiGax, and uses plug-ins called
    "Additives." At this time, Agax will detect and try to clean only
    SevenDust, CODE 9811, and the AutoStart worms (the worm additive was
    in beta testing at the time of this writing). The author's Web page
    and documentation invite Mac programmers to contribute additives.

    The Exorcist, free from Laffey Computer Imaging, may give some (by
    one description, about 90%) protection from the SevenDust family.

    Gatekeeper was not a scanner, but a generic tool. It is no longer
    supported by its author, but is still available on some sites. It
    is probably not safe to use or rely on on modern systems, and I
    believe the author recommends that people don't attempt to use it,
    though I've been unable to contact him to get confirmation.

    In January 1997 Padgett Peterson, author of the PC utility
    DiskSecure, released the first version of his MacroList macro
    detection tool, which has been tested by the author on Macs (System
    7.5 on SE/30, IIci and PowerMac) as well as Windows PCs, using
    considerably more macro viruses than Microsoft seem to have heard
    of..... The MacroList template is accessed by a button in the
    standard toolbar. This is not a virus scanner, but allows disabling
    of automacros, listing of any macros found in the current document
    etc. Version 1.10 was due for release by the time of writing
    (February 1997), and an adaptation for Office97 is in progress.
    Watch the Web page for further details. [v1.1 and the Office 97
    "late beta" were available as at 18th March 1997.] MacroList is
    freeware, but please be sure to read the TRIALS link.
    (under Anti-Virus Hobby) - NB change of URL.

    WormGuard by Clarence Locke is a free on-access extension that
    affords AutoStart worm protection:

    The following free scanners may remove AutoStart 9805 and its B, C,
    D, E, and F variants and may be useful in the absence of a
    commercial application. There are a few reported instances of
    failures by some of these programs to identify or remove the
    AutoStart worms, and it is likely that D might be mis-identified as
    C, and E may be mis-identified as the original worm. [SL]

    WormScanner by James Walker
    Autostart Hunter by Akira Nagata
    <> (English)
    <> (Japanese)
    BugScan by Mountain Ridge Dataworks (also detects SevenDust E)
    Worm Gobbler by Jim Kreinbrink
    Innoculator by MacOffice
    WormFood by Doug Baer
    Eradicator with update, by Uptown Solutions Ltd.

    As stated above, one-shot solutions to a very small subset of a
    particular class of threat have a long and honourable history, and
    are very welcome when a new threat catches the antivirus developers
    on the hop (it can take some time to incorporate detection of new
    threats into the product update cycle). NB The maintainer does not
    currently have the time or resources to do full detection testing of
    these products (or any other). [DH]

    8.5 Commercial Packages
    Commercial packages include NAV (Norton AntiVirus for Macintosh)
    [NAV supersedes SAM (Symantec Antivirus for Macintosh)], Virex for
    Macintosh, Rival, and Sophos Anti-Virus for Macintosh (SAV).

    Virex, NAV, and SAM [obsolete] all address a full range of threats,
    including Trojans and macro viruses, and can do scheduled scanning
    as well as on-access (memory-resident) scanning.

    ++Sophos Anti-Virus for Macintosh (SAV) was upgraded in January 1999
    to include the SWEEP on-demand scanner. The shipping version can be
    downloaded for free evaluation. English and Japanese are supported.
    <> Stand-alone on-access scanning
    is now available in the release version. Server-based on-access scanning
    has long been available for Mac clients on NT or NetWare networks.
    The program offers customizable reporting and notification from an
    attractive interface. So far, compressed archives must be
    decompressed before scanning; I am assured that archive scanning
    will be in future versions. Complete documentation is in PDF format.
    + Sophos combines an intercept driver (InterCheck) and a scanner
    application (SWEEP). Sales are not retail, but direct or through
    the Sophos Distributor network. Free technical support is all-year
    round, any time of day. Virus identity updates are available from
    the Web between monthly CD-ROMs. Major developments in the Sophos
    product are expected, including smooth large-scale deployment and
    ease of updating over networks.[SL]
    [This section is overdue for serious refurbishment. Next FAQ release, maybe. There
    may be an issue with the Sophos control panel and some USB drives - not formally
    tested to date.]

    Norton AntiVirus for Macintosh (NAV) launched May 18, 1998. New
    features included LiveUpdate virus definition updates over the
    Internet, enhanced macro virus protection, automatic file repair, a
    bootable CD-ROM for emergencies, faster scanning for PPC, and a
    universal SafeZone.

    NAV, SAM, and Virex offer checksumming/integrity checking
    (detecting possible infection by unknown viruses, by monitoring
    changes in infectable files) - the correct checksums or
    fingerprints for individual files are kept in a database file. All
    three applications check files compressed with StuffIt.

    NAV, formerly SAM, is particularly oriented towards behaviour
    blocking: the Intercept tool can be configured to raise an alert at
    the slightest whiff of a 'suspicious' operation. Unfortunately,
    this can be counterproductive in real life, since an over-stringent
    alert policy is apt to result in the facility being turned off
    altogether. However, configuration is very flexible.

    SAM (Symantec AntiVirus for Macintosh) support was discontinued
    May 1; the last update is for July '99. From Symantec's advice:
    "In order to maintain the safety and security of your data
    from viruses without interruption, we recommend that you
    upgrade to NAVM 5.0.3 before May 1st. For presales and
    upgrade questions, please contact customer service. They
    can be reached at 800-441-7234 or online at:"

    [SAM 4.5.x needs the 4.5->4.5.1 application patch to run current
    definitions, and the 4.5.3 Intercept patch to resolve a compatibility
    issue with Microsoft Office 98, and Segment Loader errors when
    Intercept loads.
    SAM application Minimum and Preferred memory allocations must be
    increased from their shipping defaults to 5000K or greater. The
    (May 1998) SAM definitions files included a Read Me with
    instructions. More information may be available from Symantec SAM
    support on the Web.]

    Symantec issued a Norton AntiVirus 5.x->5.0.3 patch for Mac OS 8.5,
    fixing the problem with copying files on AppleShare networks.

    Virex offers very fast scanning is easy to update, and includes
    checksumming for the detection of unknown viruses. It's also
    possible to buy an administration package. The basic package
    includes a control panel for scanning on file or diskette access
    which can be locked independently of the administration package.
    Installation and interface are easy and efficient. Virex 5.8 scans
    ZIP archives, has a contextual menu plug-in module, and interface

    Virex 5.9.1 was released on 18-Jan-99, for compatibility with
    Mac OS 8.5 and Virex Administrator 1.4, and can be downloaded.
    <>. Registered users who
    bought McAfee VirusScan during the past six months or so, and
    registered users of Virex 5.8 and 5.9 could still upgrade:
    Virex Administrator version 1.4 was released by NAI on 23-Dec-98.
    Virex and Virex Administrator had these home pages:
    ++Current Virex release is 6.0. Licensed 5.9x users can obtain an
    upgrade. OS 9 users will need the beta control panel available from, to overcome compatibility problems.

    Dr Solomon's Software acquired Virex and netOctopus from Datawatch
    Corp. on 10-Oct-97. Network Associates (NAI) acquired Dr Solomon's
    on 13-Aug-98. Netopia, Inc., acquired what is now named Timbuktu
    netOctopus in late '98 or early '99.

    ++VirusScan 3.0.1 is the final version for Macintosh, and may be
    updated for macro viruses into 1999, but will never have AutoStart
    worm definitions or definitions for the new System viruses like
    SevenDust E. VirusScan customers need to take advantage of a free
    upgrade to Virex as soon as possible.

    Dr. Solomon's for Macintosh went through various stages of neglect
    through late 1998 and support appears to have vanished altogether in
    1999, when customers started to receive Virex disks instead of Dr.
    Solly's updates.

    ++Rival 3.0.4 is available from Intego. [Probably obsolete info.]

    ++F-Secure for Macintosh is one of the best-kept secrets in anti-virus.
    The last time I saw it, it detected macro viruses only. You might be
    lucky and find some reference to it at:
    It features on datafellows evaluation CDs.

    8.6 Contact Details
    Network Associates
    (for Virex, Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit, and VirusScan)

    Network Associates Corporate Headquarters
    3965 Freedom Circle
    McCandless Towers
    Santa Clara, CA 95054
    United States
    Customer Care:
    Voice +1 408 988 3832
    Fax +1 408 970 9727
    Fax-back automated response system
    +1 408 988 3034
    BBS +1 408 988 4004
    America Online keyword: MCAFEE
    CompuServe: GO NAI

    Dr. Solomon's Software Ltd.
    (for Dr. Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit)

    Alton House
    Gatehouse Way
    Buckinghamshire HP19 3XU
    United Kingdom
    UK Support:
    US Support:
    UK Tel: +44 (0)1296 318700
    USA Tel: +1 781-273-7400, 1-888-DRSOLOMON
    CompuServe: GO DRSOLOMON

    Symantec Corporation (for NAV and SAM)

    10201 Torre Avenue
    Cupertino CA 95014
    United States
    +1 408 725 2762
    Fax: +1 408 253 4992
    US Support: 541-465-8420
    European Support: 31-71-353-111
    Australian Support: 61-2-879-6577

    Intego (for Rival)

    10, rue Say
    75009 Paris
    +33 1 49 95 07 80
    Fax: +33 1 49 95 07 83

    Sophos Plc (for Sophos Anti-Virus)

    The Pentagon
    England OX14 3YP
    US Support: +1-888-SOPHOS-9
    UK Support: +44-1235-559933

    ++Details on DataFellows will be included when I've determined the current
    status of F-Secure for Macintosh. [Sorry: next time round, guys....]

    9.0 Welcome Datacomp

    From time to time there are reports from Mac users that the message
    'Welcome Datacomp' appears in their documents without having been
    typed. This is the result of using a Trojanised 3rd-party
    Mac-compatible keyboard with this 'joke' hard-coded into the
    keyboard ROM. It's not a virus - it cannot infect anything. The
    only cure is to replace the keyboard (be polite but firm with the
    dealer if you were sold this as a new keyboard!).

    10.0 Hoaxes and myths

    Some of these are PC-specific, rather than Mac-specific, while some
    have no basis in reality on any system. [I look forward to hearing
    about the first Turing machine infector....] They are included here
    (a) because Mac support staff are accustomed to being asked about
    them (b) because anything that -might- work on a real PC -might-
    also work with DOS emulation, in principle.
    ++This section may vanish in the near future, or at least contract.
    The hoax business has changed a lot since this FAQ began.

    10.1 Good Times virus
    There is *no* Good Times virus that trashes your hard disk and
    launches your CPU into an nth-complexity binary loop when you read
    mail with "Good Times" in the Subject: field.

    You can get a copy of the latest version of Les Jones' FAQ on the
    Good Times Hoax on the World Wide Web:

    There's a Mini-FAQ available as:

    10.2 Modems and Hardware viruses
    There is no modem virus that spreads via an undocumented subcarrier
    - whatever that means.... There is no virus that causes damage to

    10.3 Email viruses
    Any file virus can be transmitted as an E-mail attachment. However,
    the virus code has to be executed before it actually infects.
    Sensibly configured mailers and browsers don't allow this: check
    yours. In particular, check that your Web browser doesn't
    automatically pass Word documents to Word 6 to open, since this may
    result in embedded macros being launched.

    10.4 JPEG/GIF viruses
    There is no known way in which a virus could sensibly be spread by
    a graphics file such as a JPEG or .GIF file, which does not contain
    executable code. Macro viruses work because the files to which they
    are attached are not 'pure' data files.

    10.5 Hoaxes Help
    If you should receive a virus warning, look at these sites before
    forwarding it along (in fact, it's probably never justified to pass
    on a virus alert indiscriminately, and reputable antivirus
    companies don't do this. In fact, the information that such and
    such a virus exists is not, in itself, useful to the average
    computer user, even if it does. A statement like, "Please forward
    to everyone!" is one mark of a hoax.

    Computer Virus Myths home page


    Data Fellows

    Scams and Hoaxes FAQ: Messages you DON'T want to post

    Corporates who haven't sorted out their hoax management strategy
    might get some mileage out of my mini-paper on "Dealing with
    Internet Hoaxes", though it's getting a bit long in the tooth. It
    is, however, one of the few papers on the subject which deals with
    it from an adminstrator's/manager's point of view as well as from
    an everyday user/victim's. [DH]
    I'm slightly surprised to find that I'm managing an EICAR project
    in this area: watch this space.

    11.0 Glossary

    * Change Detectors/Checksummers/Integrity Checkers - programs that
    keep a database of the characteristics of all executable files on a
    system and check for changes which might signify an attack by an
    unknown virus.
    * Cryptographic Checksummers use an encryption algorithm to lessen
    the risk of being fooled by a virus that targets that particular
    * Dropper - a program that installs a virus or Trojan, often
    * Generic - catch-all name for antivirus software that doesn't know
    about individual viruses, but attempts to detect viruses by
    detecting virus-like code, behaviour, or changes in files
    containing executable code.
    * Heuristic scanners - scanners that inspect executable files for
    code using operations that might denote an unknown virus.
    * Monitor/Behaviour Blocker - a TSR that monitors programs while
    they are running for behaviour which might denote a virus.
    * Scanner (conventional scanner, command-line scanner, on-demand
    scanner) - a program that looks for known viruses by checking for
    recognisable patterns ('scan strings', 'search strings',
    'signatures') or using a more flexible algorithmic approach for
    detection of polymorphic viruses, which can't be found by a search
    for a simple scan string. These are not usually associated with the
    Macintosh platform, but there are Word Macro viruses which exhibit
    * Trojan (Trojan Horse) - a program intended to perform some covert
    and usually malicious act that the victim did not expect or want.
    It differs from a destructive virus in that it doesn't reproduce,
    (though this distinction is by no means universally accepted).
    * Virus - a program (a block of executable code) that attaches
    itself to, overwrites or otherwise replaces another program in
    order to reproduce itself without the knowledge of the computer
    user. Most viruses are comparatively harmless, and may be present
    for years with no noticeable effect: some, however, may cause
    random damage to data files (sometimes insidiously, over a long
    period) or attempt to destroy files and disks. Others cause
    unintended damage. Even benign viruses (apparently non-destructive
    viruses) cause significant damage by occupying disk space and/or
    main memory, by using up CPU processing time, by introducing the
    risk of incompatibilities and conflicts, and by the time and
    expense wasted in detecting and removing them.

    12.0 General Reference Section

    12.1 Mac Newsgroups


    The focus on these two groups tends to be IBM-compatible, but Mac
    issues are certainly aired. Alt.comp.virus is unmoderated, and the
    quality of the advice and opinions aired there is very variable -
    there are many reputable and expert posters, and many mischievous
    and misleading contributions. Caveat lector.... comp.virus lies
    dormant for years at a time, but is well worth watching when there's
    anything there.

    12.2 References and Publications
    Sensei Consulting Macintosh WAIS Archives

    "Inside the Apple Macintosh" - Peter Norton & Jim Heid (Brady) (The
    2nd Edition is pre-PowerMac, and I haven't seen a later one, but
    there's some surprisingly useful stuff in there).

    "Inside Macintosh" (Addison Wesley). Essential reading for Mac
    programmers. (Umpteen volumes of fairly low-level info. Expensive
    (in the UK, at any rate), and whenever you get near some useful
    info, it refers you to one of the volumes you haven't got. However,
    the series has been re-vamped since I acquired my copies, and this
    may be less than just. It's possible to download them in Acrobat
    and in some cases other formats from:
    where you can also order hardcopy and CD versions. Lots of other
    useful files.

    "Power Macintosh Emergency Handbook" (Apple Computer)

    MacFixIt "Troubleshooting for the Macintosh"

    "Sad Macs, Bombs and other Disasters"
    Ted Landau (Addison Wesley)

    MacInTouch home page (info and services)
    <> (Have run MacInTouch columns about the AutoStart worms.)
    Macworld magazine
    TidBITS (Have done many good articles on Mac/macro virus issues.)

    13.0 Mac troubleshooting

    Since the initial release of this document, a number of people have
    E-mailed me asking for help with a possibly virus-related problem.
    While I'll always help if I can, I should point out (1) I'm an
    experienced Mac user and an IT support professional, but I don't
    claim to be a Mac expert (2) pressure of work and other commitments
    and a huge E-mail turnover means that I can't promise a quick or
    in-depth response [DH]. Whether you mail direct or post to a
    relevant newsgroup, it's helpful if you can supply a few details,
    such as:

    * Which model of Macintosh you're using. It may be useful to know
    how much RAM it has, the size of the hard disk, and any peripherals
    you're using.
    * Which version of MacOS you're using.
    * Which applications you're using, and which version. If you're
    using Word, it may be critical to know whether you're using version
    6 or later, or an earlier version.
    * Which, if any, antivirus packages you use, and what version
    number. If you're using NAV, for instance, what version?
    * List any error messages or alerts that have appeared.
    * List any recent changes in configuration, additional hardware
    * List any diagnostic/repair packages you've tried, and the
    * List any other steps you've taken towards determining the cause
    of the problem and/or trying to fix it, e.g. rebuilding the
    desktop, booting without extensions, zapping PRAM etc.

    Here are a few steps that it might be appropriate to try if virus
    scanning with an up-to-date scanner finds nothing. This section
    will be improved when and if I have time.

    Rebuilding the desktop is by no means a cure-all, but rarely does
    any harm. It may be worth disabling extensions when you do this,
    especially if the operation doesn't seem to be completed

    To disable extensions, restart the machine with the shift key held
    down until you see an Extensions Off message. If you're rebuilding
    the desktop, release the shift key and hold down Command (the key
    with the Apple outline icon) & Options (alt) until requested to
    confirm that you want to rebuild.

    Disabling extensions is also a good starting point for tracking
    down an extensions conflict. If booting without extensions appears
    to bypass the problem, try removing extensions with Extensions
    Manager (System 7.5) - remove one at a time, and replace it before
    removing the next one and booting with that one removed. Remember
    that if removing one stops the problem, it's still worth putting it
    back and trying all the others to see if you can find one it's
    conflicting with. Extensions Manager also lets you disable control
    panels. If you don't have Extensions Manager, try Now Utilities or
    Conflict Catcher.

    Parameter RAM (PRAM) contains system information, notably the
    settings for a number of system control panels. 'Zapping' PRAM
    returns possibly corrupt PRAM data to default values. A likely
    symptom of corrupted PRAM is a problem with date and time (but
    could be a symptom of a corrupted system file). With system 7, hold
    down Command-Option-P-R at bootup until the Mac beeps and restarts.
    You may have restore changes to some control panels before your
    system works properly. If the reset values aren't retained, the
    battery may need replacing.

    End "Viruses and the Macintosh" version 1.6a by David Harley
    David Harley, Jan 16, 2004
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