Rob Knight

Virtual Virus

August 22, 2005

You can all appreciate the sick irony in the computer virus story I’m about to tell you. There is a program for Apple’s OSX operating system called ClamXav. It’s an anti-virus program. Generally speaking there isn’t much to worry about on an Apple box in the way of viruses (or so I thought). However, you can still pass on infected files to Windows users who then get the wrath of these things. So I thought I’d give ClamXav a try and make sure I’m not passing on infected files to any unsuspecting Windows users. Windows users are such tortured souls, I thought I’d be nice. So I scan my Documents folder.

1,152 files and 1.5 minutes later I’m done.

One infected file.

“WHAT? WTF? I’ve got an infected file?!?!?! My beloved Apple machine has betrayed me? All of that elitism about Apple’s operating system being safe? How could…wait…what file is it?”

So I open the scan log and look at the insidious beast that has stolen the innocence from my happy little Apple box. I kid you not, here is the file location and name:

Documents/Virtual PC List/Windows 98.vpc7/Disk1.vhdp/BaseDrive.vhd

Notice the key word “Windows 98?” That’s right. I run a Windows emulation program called VirtualPC. I installed Windows98 1 week ago and without opening a single email attachment and downloading only a single file (Mozilla’s Web Browsing suite-just to be safe), my Windows98 installation is infected with a virus. I laughed for quite awhile and I must say it is surreal to have a virtual version of Windows98 get infected when it has probably run for a grand total of 40 minutes since I installed it.

Of course my beloved Apple box is fine and dandy and has no idea it is harboring an evildoer and there is no way my virtual Windows98 virus can infect one of the world’s safest operating systems. No cross-pollination here. I guess I’ll have to trash my virtual Windows98 installation.

By the way, if you have a mac & would like to try ClamXav, you can get it here:

http://www.clamxav.com

I have passed this on to the folks who created ClamXav, I’m sure they get this a lot.