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Wednesday, November 6 12:01 AM EST

Virus Alert: Inferno

By Francisco Rangel

Anti-virus experts have issued a warning alerting computer users about a new Visual Basic script virus named Inferno. The payload is in an attachment called a_day_in_hell.gif.vbs. When executed, the script sets the monitor's brightness and contrast to maximum levels, sets the refresh rate to the highest possible value, and the palette is modified to display only red colors. At these settings the monitor begins to heat up and emit powerful radiation toward the user.

A very tanned virus researcher explained, "The heat and electromagnetic waves emitted by the monitor are enough to tan, or even burn, a user.  I've been dealing with this virus for a couple of hours, and look at me! By the way, have you seen my sunscreen around here?"

One victim narrowly escaped severe injury.  "I was about to open a bottle of Jumping Lizard Ginseng Blaster when I opened the attachment. Just then, I dropped my straw and reached down to pick it up. I heard this loud bang, and realized the bottle had exploded, and the liquid drenched my keyboard.  I was really lucky. I only got a couple of shards of glass in my back. Unfortunately, my medical insurance doesn't cover Acts of Stupidity so I had to pay for the stitches myself."

While a few other casualties have been reported, mostly burns suffered by basement dwelling web surfers, some enterprising Internet Cafe owners have taken advantage of the virus by becoming makeshift Internet Cafe/Tanning Salons.  "Most of our clientele are rather pale-skinned.  With this new virus, we can help them look better, and charge double for our service," explained the owner of the recently renamed Surf-n-Tan Cafe.

Pregnant women and albinos are advised to avoid computers infected with the virus.

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