Chernobyl is the latest malignant virus to rampage through the virtual world and cause havoc, despite advanced warnings of the April 26 deadline, the 13th anniversary of the nuclear disaster it is named after.
Nick Adamo, CEO of data recovery specialist Forensic Data Services, reassured local businesses that Australia was relatively untouched by the virus, as was the United States. "As far as we know, only two major corporates, both based in Melbourne, were seriously affected. That was extremely lucky because it was a public holiday in several states."
However, other parts of the Asian region were among the worst hit, with South Korea, for instance, recording massive destruction. Adamo blames lack of preparation for the problem, explaining that it is possible to protect against the virus, which was discovered in June last year.
"Most of the real damage caused by the virus appears to have been confined to home users or small, private computer installations where antivirus procedures tend to be the most lax," Adamo said.
According to Forensic Data Services, Chernobyl was designed to completely disable a PC's hard drive and BIOS system by infecting Windows 95 and 98 on April 26 each year. Other strains of the CIH family, from which Chernobyl is derived, also attack on the 26th day of a particular month.
Carl Hindle, Forensic Data Services' technical services manager, explained that Chernobyl is a self-serving virus that corrupts the beginning of a computer's hard disk drive, which contains information critical to the operation of Windows.
Adamo reassured victims that Forensic Data Services' has an 80 to 85 per cent success rate at recovering data but initial protection is obviously more effective, with the doctoring job taking up to four days. "These types of viruses are prolific," Adamo said. "People need to update their virus software at least once a month."