Hackers are using extracts from Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility to evade virus scanners, according to security experts.

The mid-year report from tech firm Cisco explains virus software is likely to be tricked into thinking a page is legitimate if it detects passages from famous 19th century literature. That means webpages or software containing malware could go under the radar.

"For users, encountering unexpected references to beloved Austen characters such as Elinor Dashwood and Mrs Jennings on a webpage may be perplexing but not a cause for immediate concern," the report warns.

As for what this problem means for you? A lot less now that it has been spotted. The problem, Cisco engineer Jason Brvenik tells AFP, is that hackers still "have the upper hand in agility, innovation and brazenness".

"We see this time and again, whether it is nation-state actors, malware, exploit kits or ransomware," he added.

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