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Monday,  February 10 12:01 AM EDT

Virus Alert: Heavyweight

By Brian Briggs

Virus researches have raised the level of alert to Code Yellow for the Heavyweight virus which physically destroys the hard drives of its victims.

Heavyweight operates much like other self-replicating, self-spreading viruses with one weighty exception, it arrives as a compressed attachment. What is unique about this compressed file compared to a .zip or tar.gz file is the density of compression. The file is so densely packed that the attachments weighs 1,000,000 times more than normal compressed data.

Deformed Drive
"Larger infections of multiple files may cause your hard drive platters to deform and even break under the extreme stress."

"If your hard drive is only infected with one of the files you may only notice a small knocking sound like a washing machine out of balance," said Clarence Godfrey of the Anti-Virus Research Consortium. "Larger infections of multiple files may cause your hard drive platters to deform and even break under the extreme stress."

The danger is amplified by the fact that the attachment does not require any action by the user. It only needs to be downloaded to the hard drive. Experts advise that you quickly delete the attachment before your hard drive has a chance to spin.

Before sending the attachment to your recycle bin make sure you have reinforced the container, or the virus might crash right through the bottom of the bin making a hole in your desktop. If this happens you will need to patch your recycle bin before you can delete any files.

"We're working on a solution to stop this virus because it's really slowing down the Internet," said Godfrey. "Hard drives aren't the only components at risk. Many cables and routers clogged by the self-spreading virus are collapsing under its weight."

The virus also poses a risk for the young and the elderly as they may be unable to lift the virus to delete it. There have already been three reported cases of senior citizens becoming trapped under the virus.

Godfrey suggested not downloading any attachments until the virus has been eradicated.

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