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Sun 30 May 2004 04:00 AM

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First threat to 64-bit systems

Symantec has alerted Middle Eastern users to the first threat to 64-bit systems. However, most home and business systems in the region run on 32-bit platforms and are not affected.

Symantec has alerted Middle Eastern users to the first threat to 64-bit systems. However, most home and business systems in the region run on 32-bit platformsand are not affected.

Symantec security response experts have just analysed the 64-bit malicious threat — W64.Rugrat.3344. But this proof-of-concept virus is not spreading in the wild, Symantec says.

W64.Rugrat.3344 is the first known threat to attack 64-bit Windows executables successfully. It only targets Win64-bit systems, so the virus will not infect 32-bit executables and will not run on 32-bit Windows platforms.

"Currently, there isn't a broad penetration of 64-bit systems. Most home and business systems deployed today are running on 32-bit platforms and are not affected by this threat," says Kevin Isaac, regional director for Symantec Middle East & Africa. "At this time, we are not expecting widespread copy cats since assembly code requires advanced technical knowledge."

“While this virus is harmless in that it simply appends itself to executable files, it is significant as it is the first know instance of a virus that is able to infect 64-bit platforms,” he points out.

Isaac also explained that, currently, W64.Rugrat.3344 is a Level 1 threat (Level 5 being the most severe) and Symantec recommends that users update their virus definitions.

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