One Year Ago: Dr Solomon's claims macro virus breakthrough

This story first published May 12, 1997

Dr Solomon's is taking a big stick to the scourge of macro viruses, generally considered to be the biggest threat in the virus world today.

The UK firm's Anti-Virus Toolkit 7.72, available by the end of May, contains what it calls Advanced Macro Heuristic Analysis, or the ability to detect undocumented Word 2.0 and Word 95 macro viruses.

Word macro viruses account for the vast majority of macro viruses, although some such as Laroux infect Microsoft Excel. There are over 600 macro viruses in existence today, according to Dr Solomon's. The firm claims an 80 percent success rate for the tool in finding new macro viruses, without triggering false warnings.

"Even monthly updates aren't enough as macro viruses spread very quickly because they get passed around in e-mail and files," said Graham Cluley, senior technical consultant. "The revolutionary thing we're doing is getting rid of false alarms. It's easy enough to stop all macros but our product looks specifically for code that replicates. I think our detection technique is the most important thing in viruses since the macro virus itself."

However, Cluley said that viruses can't be cured in the program and there is no detection as yet for Word 97 viruses.

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