Echoes from the past

It seems from information on the Danish web site of Medion that some of the laptops they shipped recently were infected with the boot sector virus Angelina. This virus, which infects the boot sector of floppy disks and the MBR (Master Boot Record) of hard disks, dates from the mid-1990s.

Once commonplace, such threats are now rare. And on the face of it, you might not expect viruses as old as this to be still around. But incidents like this remind us that they haven’t completely disappeared.

For those of you who haven’t had to grapple with such viruses, they infect when the machine is booted from an infected floppy disk. Of course, this typically happens by accident, when the user forgets that there’s a floppy disk in the drive. They infect at boot-up, before the operating system loads, so they will infect any PC configured to boot from the floppy drive. However, they only spread under DOS and (under specific conditions) Windows 9x. This is why they’re not very common.

So, if such threats are rare, do we detect them? Absolutely, you never know when such ‘legacy’ threats might put in an appearance.

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