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The CIH Chernobyl virus
CIH, also known as "Chernobyl," is one of the more malicious forms of computer virus present today. It has the potential to destroy the data on your hard drive, thus rendering it unreadable, and on many newer computers it can prevent the machine from starting up period.
There are a few different versions of CIH in existence. The older, "vanilla" version triggers itself on the 26th of each month and is not quite as dangerous. The newer version, and the one that has been getting much of the press, only executes once per year on the 26th of April. It is, however, much more dangerous.
Detection and removal
The most recent updates to the more popular anti-virus software packages, such as Norton or McAfee, should be able to detect and remove the CIH virus while it is still in its dormant stage. There is also a free utility available for download that will scan your computer and remove any occurances of the virus it finds.
If it hit you
If your computer was struck by this virus before you were able to remove it there is most likely little you can do besides reformatting the hard disk and resetting the BIOS. Any and all data and programs will be lost. In the event that this happens you should contact your computer manufacturer's support line for further information and instructions.
Resources Available on the Web
For more information on virus updates and anti-virus software, visit our Virus Information section.