Chinese authorities have issued a warning over a new computer virus which they fear could spread quickly.

Chinese government officials have issued the warning over the Worm_Piloyd.B worm after the virus was discovered circulating on Chinese networks.

The Tianjin-based National Computer Virus Emergency Response Centre reported that the virus infects .exe, .html and .asp files and is programmed to block users from restoring any files that are infected.

The virus also forces an infected system to download other viruses from websites and it is claimed that the worm will also be used to make an infected PC part of a wider botnet.

The warning is unusual in that it has not been issued by antivirus experts in the US or Europe but instead, from a officials in a country which has become renowned for being a breeding ground for malicious software. Research released in 2008 claimed that 44.8% of all malware-infected websites were being hosted in China.

The problem, many believe, is exasperated by the Chinese government’s secretive policy on computer usage, with strict state controls on computer usage and internet access. For example, a compulsory government firewall software program must be installed on all PCs being used in the country.

Earlier this year, a report by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission suggested that Chinese government agencies were attempting to monitor American computer systems.

Computer users are urged to ensure that their antivirus software is kept up-to-date to minimise the risk of being affected by the worm.

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