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Truth about computer security hysteria
Truth About Computer Security Hysteria

Win95.Boza virus

CATEGORY: Overblown computer security threats

The Associated Press warned at the beginning of 1996 about a virus targeted at Windows 95 programs. Named after a mild Bulgarian brew, the Boza virus basically served as a press release for an Australian virus-writing group.

Boza contained a number of bugs despite its simple design and it quickly earned the nickname "bozo." But the media didn't care — they latched onto its status as "the first Windows 95 virus." Boza came hot on the heels of Microsoft's rollout for their new operating system, making it a newsworthy virus by definition.

AP at least cited Paul Ducklin of Sophos, who acknowledged the virus had not yet appeared "in the wild" — but this fact quickly withered away as other news stories appeared about Boza. Antivirus companies scrambled to issue copycat press releases and they, too, seemed to overlook this important point. Frightened computer users who didn't even run Windows 95 concluded their computers might have contracted the virus!

Last updated: 2000/10/7