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From: gruneberg at (Jean Gruneberg)
Subject: Viral infection via Serial Cable

Hi all

OK - here is a basic question - sorry if this is totally clueless.

I have a client who runs a heavy engineering shop.  To date all his
computerised punches and bend breaks etc. have been driven via a windows CAD
workstation talking to them on a serial cable - basically a data dump to the
machine which runs a modified dos based OS.

So he buys a new sheet metal laser cutter and they bring the system online
whilst I'm busy throwing shielded cabling for serial comms to the new
machine - lo and behold the system boots to windows 2000 (the concept of a
high powered laser metal cutting device driven by windows is another
conversation entirely...)

So I have a closer look at the beast and it is basically a pc built into a
very large machine - has all the usual LAN / USB etc.  The system even comes
pre-installed with Norton AV.  We (read me) make a management decision not
to park said machine on the LAN (concept of disgruntled employee and said
laser)  also the data suite that talks to the laser is now windows based and
not an old dos prompt data suite to the older machines.

So the question is, is a pc / machine connected to another pc via serial
cable only using specialised windows software to move data to the machine at
all vulnerable to viruses?  Can they transmit themselves across a serial



Checked by AVG anti-virus system (
Version: 6.0.744 / Virus Database: 496 - Release Date: 2004/08/24

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