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  Words in the News
  The Chernobyl computer virus wiped the memories of hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide. Chris Nuttall, the BBC’s Internet Correspondent, reported.
  Audio Listen to the report in full
Computer virus

29th April 1999

Chernobyl Computer Virus

NEWS 1   The Chernobyl virus was discovered last June, but despite warnings about its deadly effects from anti-virus software companies since then, it still appears to have wreaked havoc in certain parts of the world. In the West, companies protected their computers with anti-virus programmes which killed it off, but in Asia and the Middle East the same precautions have been ignored in many cases. Chernobyl also spreads through pirated software, which is rife in these parts of the world.

virus: a virus is usually a living organism, smaller even than bacteria, which causes an infectious disease in a body or plant. A computer virus is a malicious computer programme which damages computer systems.

to wreak havoc: to cause chaos and disorder

pirated software: computer software or programmes which has been copied without permission

is rife: if something is rife, it is very common. If a disease is rife somewhere it is very common or even out of control.

NEWS 2  

The media in China reported as many as a hundred thousand computers affected. South Korean officials estimated two hundred and fifty thousand were hit, and, in India, at least ten thousand PCs crashed, including ones run by major industries and financial institutions. In the Middle East, Israeli data recovery experts said there’d been a catastrophe, with thousands of computers affected. Egyptian firms sent workers home as their systems were paralysed: and there were reports of thousands of computers losing vital information right across the Gulf. Chernobyl has not been propogated to the same extent as the recent Melissa virus, which jammed networks with e-mail, but it has caused far greater damage.


crash: if a computer crashes it suddenly fails

data recovery experts: computer experts who can retrieve information which appears to be lost

paralysed: here, would not work, stopped

to propagate : to increase in number by reproducing or spreading. We say that plants propagate by seed

jammed : filled completely so everything stopped

    Read about the creator of the virus in BBC News Online

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