Nasty New Year Virus

Another New Year's, another virus. (For that matter, another week, another virus.) In the past reports of a Happy New Year virus have turned out to be hoaxes. Not this time, however. A new worm most commonly called Reeezak is trying to foul up your security resolutions, and it comes in several forms. Read about how to identify the malicious program, what it does, and how to eradicate it manually here.

 By Jim Freund
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Every year seems to bring forth a virus related to New Year's, and each one seems to be different. The main danger we're looking at this time is the discrepancy of information from differing sources. If you look up "Happy New Year Virus" at your preferred search engine, you are likely to first see sources telling you that this is a hoax. In 1999, that was true. An e-mail was sent out with text similar to the following:

Warning on December 31, 1999 you may receive an email called, Happy New Year...do not open it, it contains a deadly virus...it will erase windows from your computer along with many other program files.Pass this on as soon as you can to get the WORD out!!!This is not a hoax....this was reported on CNN on Tuesday the 2nd November 1999!

Bereft of any attachments or a bona-fide e-mail following up on this, that was, of course, a hoax.

However, do not let this past history or the fact that you may read that it's harmless take away your vigilance. There's a new virus with the same header, and this one has definitely spiked its punch.

An e-mail message shows up as follows:

From: an associate
To: you
Subject: Happy New Year
                  or in many instances,
Subject: Hi

Message text:
Hi, I can't describe my feelings But all I can say is Happy new year:-)

Attachment: Christmas.exe

As always, the attachment is the zinger. In this case the attachment appears to be a Macromedia Flash file, and if launched, will display a small animated program featuring Santa and a reindeer. Christmas.exe is a Trojan most commonly known as Reeezak, but has also been cited as Zacker, Maldal and Keyluc.

This article was originally published on Dec 20, 2001
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