City firms infected by e-mail virus

The computer virus Melissa has hit City law firms forcing at least one top practice to shut down its server.

Melissa floods the computer system with unwanted e-mails which lists pornographic sites on the Internet.

Baker & McKenzie had to shut down its computer network after an overload in the system due to the virus.

Nick Dunhill, infrastructure manager at Baker & McKenzie, says: “The servers were out in the morning, but only for a very short time. We did have a problem with Melissa manifesting itself but we soon stamped it out.” The server went down on Tuesday, but was up and running again the next morning, he says.

Travers Smith Braithwaite, another City firm to suffer at the hands of the virus, managed to take steps early on to prevent it from spreading.

Other firms were also taking action to prevent Melissa and another virus Papa from hitting their systems.

John Pike, chief executive of Stephenson Harwood, says: “We are taking this very seriously and we are consulting with our IT department to ensure there are provisions to deal with this.”