Be wary of the Hare virus.

Question: Could you do something on the Hare Krishna virus? It was supposed to trash people’s hard drives on Aug.22 a few years ago, and again on Sept 22 that same year. What – if anything – happened? –B.E.W.

Answer: The virus you refer to is best known as the Hare.7610 virus, but is sometimes referred to as Krsna or HD Euthanasia. It doesn’t bang tambourines and dance around in long robes at airports, though. Far from it, in fact – it’s several magnitudes more trouble.

The virus is a memory-resident beast that infects .COM and .EXE files and the Master Boot Record on hard disks and the boot sector on diskettes. According to a bulletin from Cheyenne Software (now CA.com), the publisher of several anti-virus packages, the virus was first distributed over the Internet in the mid-1990s. Since then, two other versions of the virus have also been distributed in files in a variety of Internet newsgroups. Most notably, it was distributed in a file called pkzip300.exe on the alt.comp.shareware newsgroup.

PCs infected with the Hare virus will display the message “HDEuthanasia by Demon Emperor: Hare Krsna, hare, hare.” When the PC is restarted on Sept. 22, it overwrites the hard drive it is resident on, deleting all the data. The best way to avoid the virus on Sept. 22 would have been to leave your computer on, so you wouldn’t have to restart that day.

It’s been detected in the U.S., Europe, and Canada, said the bulletin. If you suspect your computer has the virus or want to protect yourself, you can download a full-functional version of McAfee’s Viruscan or purchase a full copy from your local software dealer. It’s now only available for Windows 98 and above. The software is available on the Net at Amazon.com. Most on-line services also have McAfee support areas.

CA.com‘s anti-virus product can be downloaded here; eTrust EZ Antivirus.