Microsoft Project virus discovered

A new computer virus has emerged that infects Microsoft Corp.'s Project application, according to antivirus vendor Data Fellows. P98M/Corner is thought to be the first macro virus to infect Project.

A new computer virus has emerged that infects Microsoft Corp.'s Project application, according to antivirus vendor Data Fellows.

P98M/Corner is the first macro virus to infect Project, the Finland-based company said in a statement. It is also capable of attaching itself to Microsoft Word and traveling between the two applications. When an infected document is opened in Microsoft Project 98, Corner.A infects the Word application, even if it isn't running.

Researchers at Data Fellows said the virus sample arrived in an anonymous e-mail sent through a re-mailer server and hasn't yet been observed in the wild. They said the Corner virus spreads through infected Word .doc and Project .mpp files.

When an infected document is opened in Microsoft Word 97 or 2000, Corner.A checks to see if Microsoft Project is running. If it is, the Project application is infected.

The Word virus is spread when the infected document is closed. It sets Microsoft's Office 2000 security settings to low, disables the Tools/Macros menu and turns off the macro virus protection, Data Fellows reported. After that occurs, the virus replicates to all opened documents.

Corner doesn't infect Microsoft Word 2000 unless the user has changed the security settings to medium or low.

The virus doesn't yet carry a damaging payload, but it does contain the lyrics of a song on the 1990 Joy Division album called Closer.

Network Associates rates the P98M/Corner.A virus as low risk for now.

Researchers expect to see new viruses using techniques similar to Corner but with damaging payloads. Experts advise computer users to check if their antivirus software detects the new virus and cleans it from their system.

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