Microsoft Warns Consumers of Harmful Virus Contained in Y2K E-Mail

REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 20, 1999 — Playing on consumer fears that the upcoming year 2000 date rollover may wreak havoc on personal computers, malicious hackers have created various e-mail messages that have virus-infected software attached. One such message, known as the Y2Kcount.exe, falsely appears to be coming from Support@microsoft.com and has already been maliciously distributed to Microsoft customers through e-mail. Officials at Microsoft warn unsuspecting consumers who open the e-mail message and execute the attachment that their computer system may be susceptible to the virus. Don Jones, director of Year 2000 Readiness at Microsoft, said,
“The Y2K-related e-mail message that claims to come from Microsoft is a hoax. Consumers should not open the attachment but rather delete it immediately.”

The Washington-based software company advises those looking to make certain their computers are ready for the Y2K date rollover to use the legitimate tools available at Microsoft’s Y2K Web site ( http://www.microsoft.com/y2k/ ) or on a tangible CD-ROM, such as the Microsoft® Year 2000 Resource CD. If Microsoft does send e-mail messages to its customers regarding Y2K updates or security patches, it is solely to inform them that they are available and will only provide links to the Microsoft download sites. Microsoft never attaches the software itself to the respective e-mail. Detailed information on Microsoft’s policy of software distribution and security issues is available at http://www.microsoft.com/security/new/swdistribution.asp .

As many as eight different versions of the e-mail message are thought to be in circulation. For security and protection purposes, consumers who receive e-mail with software attached should delete it from their systems.

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