Technology: Invasion of the Data Snatchers

A "virus" epidemic strikes terror in the computer world

Froma Joselow was getting ready to bang out a newspaper story when the invisible intruder struck. Joselow, a financial reporter at the Providence Journal-Bulletin, had carefully slipped a disk holding six months' worth of notes and interviews into one of the newsroom computers when the machine's familiar whir was pierced by a sharp, high-pitched beep. Each time she tried to call a file to the screen, the warning DISK ERROR flashed instead. It was as if the contents of her floppy disk had vanished. "I got that sinking feeling," recalls Joselow. "Every writing project of mine was on that disk."

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