Threat Description

Maltese Amoeba


Aliases:Maltese Amoeba, Irish
Category: Malware
Platform: W32


Maltese Amoeba was originally written in Malta, but, strangely enough, it was first found in late 1991 in Ireland - which means that the virus was able to spread from another side of the world to another unnoticed.


Automatic action

Once detected, the F-Secure security product will automatically disinfect the suspect file by either deleting it or renaming it.


You may wish to refer to the Support Community for further assistance. You also may also refer to General Removal Instructions for a general guide on alternative disinfection actions.

Technical Details

Maltese Amoeba is a resident virus which infects COM- and EXE-files. Infected files grow by 2504 to 2564 bytes. The time and date stamps of the files will not change.

Maltese Amoeba will activate on 15th of March and on 1st of November. At this time it will overwrite the first sectors on both floppy and hard drives. After that it will leave the following message flashing to the screen and hangs the machine:

To see a world in a grain of sand,
  And a heaven in a flower
  Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
  And eternity in an hour.
  THE VIRUS 16/3/91

The virus contains also another message, which is never shown:

AMOEBA virus by the Hacker Twins (C) 1991
This is nothing, wait for the release of AMOEBA II-The universal
infector, hidden to any eye but ours! Dedicated to the University
of Malta-the worst educational system in the universe, and the
destroyer of 5X2 years of human life.

These texts cannot be seen by looking at the virus code. The virus uses polymorphic encryption, trying to make itself unscannable.

Description Created: Mikko Hypponen, F-Secure


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