This date in IT history: March

FRAMINGHAM (03/02/2004) - March 6, 1992 -- A pastor in Georgia booting up his computer to write his church newsletter. A couple of PCs at an AT&T Corp. office in New Jersey. A Boston University lab computer. Hundreds of PCs, including an estimated 750 computers used by pharmacists in South Africa, lose data and disk drives after a virus timed to act on Michelangelo's birthday strikes their PCs, The New York Times reports.

It could have been worse. The virus, created by an unknown malicious code writer, spreads via infected floppy disks and heightens public awareness about the reliance on IBM-compatible PCs as business desktop tools -- and the potential impact for lost work. Security specialists beg PC users to scan their machines with antivirus software. But while observers credit these efforts with preventing a worldwide virus outbreak, it doesn't help a civil engineering firm in Japan, which tells the Reuters news agency that it has lost up to US$30,000 in architectural drawings and data on three PCs. A spokesman says, "It was a lot of work. We're furious."

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