A Year Ago Today: Hare virus catches sex-site visitors

This story was first published August 22, 1996

The Hare virus triggered today, catching out several companies that had failed to scan for the widely-publicised infection.

Graham Cluley, senior technical consultant at Dr Solomon's, said at least three UK customers had been caught out by Hare today, while many others had been saved by finding the virus before the trigger date. The UK anti-virus vendor had sent out 70,000 updates to its software and claimed publishing houses, financial concerns and government departments had been among those saved from losing large amounts of data. Some had thousands of PCs infected with the virus, the firm said.

However, Cluley played down anxiety over the seriousness of the virus. "There hasn't been a mad rush today. So far but we have had three or four calls from people who said the virus had triggered on their systems and they hadn't known anything about it before," Cluley said. "It's not a very serious virus; I'd rate it at six out of ten. It formats your hard disk but if you have a backup it's not too bad."

Cluley said that the most interesting aspect of Hare was the fact that the author made strenuous efforts to distribute it widely by putting it on several Internet forums, especially sex sites. "He put it in lots of newsgroups, suggesting it was a sexy program, so many users who got the virus were embarrassed and didn't want to own up. The general message for users is: `scan everything'."