How the other 90 per cent lives…

Email message from my college’s computer manager…

A new virus “W32/IRCBot.worm!MS05-039” is active out there and many machines in the College are already infected. Therefore, everyone is requested to update their antivirus and windows IMMEDIATELY. McAfee VirusScan 7 does not show the infection so McAfee VirusScan 8.0i (with today’s update 4560) is required to detect and remove the worm. Hijackthis, Rootkit Revealer and FPORT are not effective with the hack.

All windows machines that have not been patched with the latest MS05-039 patch are vulnerable to this worm. Please either bring them up to date with the latest MS patches and antivirus software or remove them from the network until they have been brought up to date.

The MS05-039 patch for different versions of MS Windows can be downloaded from

and the VirusScan Enterprise 8.0i can be downloaded from the following site….

And so on and so forth… To a long-term Mac/Linux user, this seems, well, quaint. What baffles me increasingly though is why so many people put up with it. On my holidays, I met several non-technical computer users who are driven to the brink of hysteria either by malware attacks, or by their inability to manage the anti-virus/firewall defences needed to combat it. I’ve learned from experience to bite my tongue, and sympathise, rather than look smug and say “Well, if you must use Microsoft software…”. For some reason, most people don’t want to hear that. Weird, isn’t it.