Dr Solomon's says McAfee virus alert is just marketing

A spokesman for Dr Solomon's yesterday said rival McAfee's claims to have found a Linux virus in the wild are just smoke and mirrors.

"We don't believe it is in the wild," said Mike Hill, director of product marketing at the UK firm. "We would define that as being found at least twice in completely unrelated companies. The only infections are from people who have downloaded it to play with and it's got out of control. I think it's largely a marketing tactic designed to frighten people. They're trying to show that they're ahead of the anti-virus community. To our perspective it's not entirely ethical. What we're seeing, particularly in the US, is increased competition between Symantec and McAfee."

Hill also disputed McAfee's explanation of how the virus works: "They say it overwrites files and inherits privileges. Unix doesn't work that way - you overwrite the privilege."

Hill said the virus is "not a major threat to Linux ... Linux is uniquely vulnerable because it's free to download but because it's a Unix flavour and Unix is very secure, it's very difficult for it to spread."

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