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Symantec Delivers First Detection And Repair For Weed.5850, A New Online Virus Discovered At ZDNet

Symantec AntiVirus Research Center (SARC) Turns Around Detection and Repair Solution to ZDNet customers Within Eight Hours for New Weed.5850 Virus

CUPERTINO, Calif. --April 28, 1997-- Symantec Corporation (Nasdaq: SYMC) the world's leading supplier of utilities and anti-virus software products, today announced that ZDNet supplied researchers at the Symantec AntiVirus Research Center (SARC) with a virus sample found by ZDNet's Software Library. SARC developed the detection in a matter of hours and provided ZDNet a repair shortly thereafter. The virus, named Weed.5850, is an encrypted file infecting virus that attempts to infect executable files. By the end of the month Symantec will also publish a complete virus detection and repair solution for the Weed.5850 computer virus on its web site at

"The minute we received the virus sample from ZDNet, our researchers jumped on the problem and within eight hours provided a detection and repair solution to ZDNet," said Alex Haddox, product manager for SARC. "Our ability to provide a speedy response illustrates SARC's commitment to not only protecting our partners like ZDNet, and their customers, but all computer users." ZDNet discovered the virus before it was posted on Software Library.

Brief Information on the Weed.5850 Virus

  • The virus, Weed.5850, is an encrypted file infecting virus
  • Infection length: 5850 bytes
  • Area of infection: COM and EXE files
  • Characteristics: encrypted file infecting virus; it is NOT memory resident; infects the same file multiple times.
  • Likelihood: Common
  • Target platform: DOS,
  • Region reported: USA (on line)
  • Trigger date: none
  • Description: Once run, it attempts to infect executable files in all directories on the path. The virus does not check for previous versions of itself, hence it will likely infect the same file multiple times. Because it lacks simple error checking, this virus often damages files that are smaller than itself (5850 bytes), rendering them unrecoverable. This is the third modified version of the Weed family of viruses. The virus can randomly cause an animated display of traveling dots, similar to a "starfield" screensaver, to appear on the systemÕs monitor."We recognize that this type of behavior is extremely detrimental to both the software industry and to consumers and a stop must be put to it now," he added. "It's a sad irony that even as the industry is beginning to solve piracy issues overseas, new piracy problems are emerging here in our own backyard." Eubanks also points out that the proliferation of software piracy inhibits innovation critical to corporations and consumers and rewards pirates, not innovators.

Symantec AntiVirus Research Center (SARC)
SARC is comprised of a dedicated team of virus experts whose sole mission is to provide swift, global responses to computer virus threats, proactively research and develop technologies that eliminate such threats, and educate the public on safe computing practices. As new computer viruses appear, SARC develops identification and detection or these viruses, and provides either a repair or delete operation, thus keeping users protected against the latest virus threats. These virus definitions updates are available to users of Norton AntiVirus, and are easily obtained by using LiveUpdate or Intelligent Updater. LiveUpdate provides one-button access to the latest virus definition updates, free of charge (other than normal phone and Internet access charges) to registered users. Symantec is the only anti-virus company that provides its users virus definitions that are free of charge, easy to obtain and install, and updated monthly by SARC.

According to the Symantec AntiVirus Research Center (SARC), six to nine new computer viruses are discovered every day and, of those, there are an alarming number of new macro viruses. Researchers have documented 515 macro viruses as of late March 1997, a significant increase since August 1996, when there were only 42. Of these, 505 viruses have been documented for Word, while 10 have been found in Excel documents.

AntiVirus Support Services
Symantec's family of anti-virus products are backed by unsurpassed information, technology, and customer service. In addition to the Symantec AntiVirus Research Center (SARC), virus information and updates can be obtained through the Virus Hotline (541) 9-VIRUS-9. Downloadable virus definition updates are available from the Symantec BBS, the Symantec FTP and Web sites, CompuServe, America Online and the Microsoft Network. For customers who do not have online access, a quarterly disk-based update subscription service is available for an annual fee of $39.95 plus tax.

This press release contains forward-looking statements. There are certain important factors that could cause results to differ materially from those anticipated by some of the statements made above. Among these are the anticipation of the growth of certain market segments, the positioning of Symantec's products in those segments, the competitive environment in the software industry, dependence on other products, such as Windows 95 and the importance of new Symantec products. Additional information concerning those and other factors is contained in the "Risk Factors" section of the Company's annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended March 29, 1996 and the Company's quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended December 27, 1996.

About Symantec Corporation
Symantec Corporation develops, markets, and supports a complete line of application and system software products designed to enhance individual and workgroup productivity as well as managed network computing environments. Platforms supported include IBM personal computers and compatibles, Apple Macintosh computers as well as all major network operating systems. Founded in 1982, the company's global operations span North America, Europe, Japan and several fast growing markets throughout Asia Pacific and Latin America. Information on the company and its products can be obtained by calling (800) 441-6054 toll free or (541) 334-6054.

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