Michelangelo, the computer virus which infects partition tables of floppy disks and hard drives, was to begin destroying data on March 6th. It was claimed to be one of the most dangerous viruses ever, with the spread attributable to the swapping of infected floppy disks. Unlike many other viruses, it could not be spread through a network or online service. It appears that very few cases were reported.
Why was the virus a bust? The media claims that it was because PC users were forewarned. That probably is correct because vendors of antivirus software packages claim to have sold more than 2.5 million packages in the weeks prior to March 6th. Regardless of whether or not the Michelangelo scare was a sales ploy, <\ the idea of having an antivirus package on a machine seems to have been widely accepted. In our opinion, PC users should routinely look for viruses, not just respond to warnings in the media.
For those who have not yet made a purchase, the leading products are Central Point's AntiVirus 1.2, Symantec's Norton AntiVirus 2.0, Certus' Novi 1.01, Trand Micro Device's PC Rx 1.0A, Fifth Generation System's Untouchable 1.0, Microcom's Virex 2.1, XTree's ViruSafe 4.5, and McAfee' s ViruScan 86B.
All of the packages are designed to locate a virus in their scanning and TSR modes and then eradicate the virus. Scanning checks the hard drive and floppy disk boot sectors and files. Normally a memory- resident program monitors the boot sector and memory and all disk accesses. Some products include a technique for wrapping around files so that if a file is moved to another disk, the antivirus product checks for infection before the program. If a virus is detected, a utility repairs file using both known-virus signature information and, if enabled, the additional signature information embedded in the wrap-around code for the individual file. The typical program repairs boot sectors using known-virus information and a copy of the boot sector information backed up to a floppy disk.
All of the antivirus packages mentioned, except Untouchable, can run under Windows.
AntiVirus 1.2 ($129; $29 special version) Central Point Software, 15220 N.W. Greenbrier Parkway, Suite 200, Beaverton, OR 97006; (503) 690-8088.
Norton AntiVirus 2.0 ($129; $9 special version): Symantec Corporation, 10201 Torre Avenue, Cupertino, CA 95014; (408) 253-9600.
Novi 1.01 ($129) : Certus International, 13110 Shaker Square, Cleveland, OH 44120; (216) 546-1500.
PC Rx 1.OA ($69): Trend Micro Devices, Inc., 2421 W. 205th Street, Suite D-100, Torrance, CA 90501; (310) 782-8190.
Untouchable 1.0 ($165): Fifth Generation Systems, Inc., 10049 N. Reiger Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70809-4562; (800) 873-4384.
Virex 2.1 ($99.95): Microcom, Inc., SOC River Ridge Drive, Norwood, MA 02062-5028; (617) 551-1000.
ViruSafe 4.5 ($99): XTRee Company, 4330 Santa Fe Road, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401; (805) 541-0604.
ViruScan 86B ($25): McAfee Associates, Ltd., 1900 Wyatt Drive, Suite B, Santa Clara, CA 95054-1529; (408) 988-4181.