This week I received a reader response regarding a letter I received off a guy called Eric who was having a little bit of trouble with his computer. Those of you who missed last weeks edition may like to acquire a copy of it to fully appreciate this weeks Click however, if not, to cut a long story short, Eric was receiving messages saying that e-mails had failed to be delivered to addresses that he wasn’t even aware he was e-mailing. The response written by Mrs S Potts is as follows:

It sounds as though Eric of Paignton has got Bugbear virus on his computer as this worm has recently played havoc amongst Church users in Brixham. One colleague passed it on, and it went round and round the computers until we all ended up having to use the Bugbear decontamination method.
On my own computer, we had just purchased Norton Antivirus 2003, which we were trying to install hoping to forestall this virus. However because the virus was already in my machine, it was over-riding the installation. This also occurred in computers already with anti virus systems that had not been updated. I notice now with Norton Anti Virus 2003 it upgrades automatically when you are on line.
The Bugbear worm goes into your e-mail addresses, picks up an old e-mail, which could still be in your sent box, and sends it completely, or partly to everyone in the address book. I had my daughter's barbeque list of food going round the town! I must tell you that the computer must be rid of the Bugbear virus before any anti virus update or new installation can take place. For details see:
Please emphasise the need for Anti Virus program and the continued upgrading of them.
Mrs S Potts, Brixham.

My hypothesis to the problem that Eric of Paignton was encountering last week was that it was caused by a virus but I wasn’t sure of one that displays the exact symptoms that he was experiencing. As Mrs Potts quite rightly points out, there is a very strong possibility that it could be the Bugbear virus which has been spreading rapidly of late so I recommend that any users who experienced similar experiences should head towards the site where they can download a free Bugbear removal tool. I’ll once again emphasise how important it is to always have an up to date virus checker on your computer; before I became involved in the industry I never used to worry about such threats and considered virus checkers that ran in the background continuously protecting you as a waste of resources.
I now find myself having to deal with someone who has lost work as a result of a virus on a week-to-week basis and I just wouldn’t feel comfortable myself without a scanner protecting me continuously.
Even if you feel that you can’t afford a virus checker or simply don’t want to have to pay for one, there are many high quality free ones available such as AVG from Grisoft ( that will offer you all the protection that you’re ever likely to need.
Those of you who are simply inquisitive may wish to have a look at Symantecs large database of known viruses at as this makes very interesting reading and for those of you who don’t currently have a virus checker installed it may scare you into acquiring one. In addition, the hyperlink that Mrs. Potts provided gives a fair bit of useful information on the Bugbear virus, how it spreads and the damage that it can cause. Reading through the information on both sites, I believe that in the case of Bugbear, if your computer has no sensitive information on it then you shouldn’t lost a great deal of sleep over this virus but because Bugbear compromises the security of your machine it may enable an outsider to gain access to your data which can be a huge risk if you keep sensitive information on your hard disk such as online banking details. Whether you store such information or not, in any event you don’t want a virus lurking on your system and you certainly don’t want to infect anyone else so make it a job for today to acquire a virus scanner or update your current one.

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