Computer Worm Leaves Users Harried

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If your computer kept crashing today or wouldn't let you get onto
the Internet, you may have the latest computer virus.

The "blaster worm" or "LovSan" virus has disabled thousands of computers, including many here in the Truckee Meadows.

This is a virus that attacks the Windows operating system.

And that translates to a high percentage of home and business
computers that are vulnerable.

In Maryland today all the DMV offices were shut down because of
the worm.

We talked with some experts today about how it works, and what you
can do to protect yourself.

There was brisk business for computer tech Mitch Cohen, thanks to the
Internet worm taking down computers all over the world. "Tons of calls about this new virus. A lot of people are losing their information. It's quite a malicious virus," Cohen says.

The Internet virus attacks Microsoft Windows through a flaw in the
software. Often it gets in when you open an email from an unknown sender and this virus has a personal message.

"Billy Gates why do you make this possible? Stop making money and start fixing your software."

CompUSA sales manager Sheila Parker says call volume has jumped

She advises people to go to to get a patch to protect their computer, but if the virus has already infected a system, it needs to be repaired quickly.

"Left unchecked, you'd end up with a frozen computer. It would only
operate 10 to 15 seconds at a time," Parker says.

Professional service costs about $50 dollars and experts recommend
installing antivirus software to fight future invasions.

"You have to constantly update. Viruses are written daily, so it's not a
one time fix," says one expert.

It's something Linda Rosenzweig will consider . . . she found the worm
when she tried to check email.

"I was very frustrated. I got bumped off the net about 70 times," she says.

Luckily for many this virus doesn't destroy the computer.

And repairs are relatively simple.
But the warning remains . . . computer users may not escape so easily
next time.

Some anti-virus companies, such as Symantec, offer free downloads
online that can remove the blaster worm.

Problem is - if you have the virus, it may be impossible to get online in the first place.

Ironically, the fix for this problem has been out for more than a month . . . people just aren't paying attention until now.

That's why experts continue to drill - prevention is the best remedy.

It takes some time in the beginning, but it pays off.