The latest version of this malware comes programmed to turn off some anti-virus and anti-spyware programs, such as Microsoft's Anti-Spyware, so you may find that you can't remove it with your PC's usual security software.

You should, however, be able to download one of the free Sober-removal tools offered by security-software firms. Try any of the following sites: (click on the "Information on W32.Sober.X@mm" link) (click "Virus Advisory: W32/Sober@MM!M681 is a Medium Risk virus") (click "Sysclean package")

* If you find that you can't reach any of these sites, the virus may have edited the "hosts" file, a small text document containing shortcuts to Internet addresses. Use the Start Menu's Search command to look for files with that name; delete any you find inside the C: drive's Windows directory. Then try going online again.

* If that does not work, borrow a friend's computer, download any one of those virus-removal packages, and copy it to a CD-R or USB memory key, which you can then use to copy the removal tool to your own computer.

* Then start up your usual anti-virus program, download all available updates for it and run a complete scan of your system, just in case.

* Once your computer is clean again, swear on the souls of your ancestors that you will never, ever, ever, click on an attachment in a random e-mail message again.

-- Rob Pegoraro