Fears the world was about to witness the end of the internet seem unfounded after the CodeRed worm failed to bite overnight on Tuesday.
Worm fails to bite
Many companies spent the previous day installing special patches to protect their systems from the worm.
E-security firm Symantec said machines that had already been infected had stopped propagating the worm which had slipped into 'infinite sleep mode'.
A spokesman said: 'Although there was much speculation on whether or not this worm would wake up again on August 1, Symantec analysis of the CodeRed worm indicates a reinfection will not re-awaken machines that were already infected. If the worm is once again injected into the internet, the worm can only affect machines that have not been previously infected and still have the vulnerability on the web server.'
CodeRed used a known hole in Microsoft software security to access systems after searching the web. Some infected computers were hit by a 'Hacked by Chinese' message.
A spokesman for Kaspersky Labs said the blaze of publicity over CodeRed had 'distorted the actual situation, having caused panic amongst users'.
'We don't exclude the possibility of a repeat. epidemic. However, the cases of infection by this worm will be sporadic and the scale of spreading won't be anything like the first series of infections,' said Eugene Kaspersky, head of anti-virus research.
He said most companies had now installed the patch and updated anti-virus software, and home users were not at risk because the worm exclusively attacks one sort of server.