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'Panda' Virus Casts Shadow over China's Cyberspace
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A computer virus, almost identical to another recent outbreak that plagued China's cyberspace for several months, has emerged to haunt Chinese Internet users, according to an anti-virus software company.

Experts with the Beijing-based Jiangmin New Tech Ltd said the new virus, known as "shadow of panda", is "like a twin brother" to the virus "panda burning joss sticks", one of the worst to ever hit China.

The new virus, like its predecessor, infects program files and steals the account names and passwords of online game players and popular chat sites.

The notorious "panda burning joss stick" spread through the Internet last December, and drew its name from the fact that it substituted a picture of a panda holding three joss sticks for all the icons of files that had been infected.

Millions of computers were infected nationwide before the creator of that original virus was identified. After police arrested 25-year-old Li Jun in Wuhan, he confessed to selling the virus to 12 people for 100,000 yuan (US$12,887).

The police subsequently released some anti-virus software written by Li to fight against his own "panda" in February.

The maker of the new "shadow of panda" has written a line in his virus code saying, "I despise the commercialized anti-virus companies. The panda is gone, so is creator Li Jun, but I will carry on his unfinished task. I will devote myself selflessly to improving the safety awareness of Chinese netizens."

The Jiangmin Company said anti-virus experts have found solutions to deal with the new virus and asked netizens to download upgraded anti-virus software as soon as possible.

(Xinhua News Agency March 14, 2007)

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