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[tarnobrzeg-gen] Melissa Virus warning

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  • Marek Duszkiewicz
    ‘Melissa’ macro worms around Web E-mail Word attachment called list.doc contains virus/worm that sends copies of itself around Net By Bob Sullivan MSNBC
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 28, 1999
      ‘Melissa’ macro worms around Web E-mail Word attachment called list.doc
      contains virus/worm that sends copies of itself around Net By Bob
      Sullivan
      MSNBC March 27— If you receive an e-mail with the subject line
      "Important
      message from ... ," be suspicious. If that message comes with a Word
      document attached called "list.doc," you've likely been sent the
      Word/Melissa macro virus. And if you open the document, it will send 50
      copies of itself to several e-mail addresses it gleans from your
      personal
      e-mail. That gives it the ability to propagate very quickly — much
      quicker
      than the happy99.exe worm, according to virus experts.

      “It pretty much brings mail systems to a halt ... We've never seen
      anything
      spread like this.”
      Srivhes Sampat
      IF YOU'VE BEEN infected, don't feel bad — experts think hundreds of
      thousands of PCs might have been infected in the two days the virus has
      been "in the wild."
      The document itself contains a list of 73 pornographic Web sites, along
      with usernames and passwords for those sites. The virus may have been
      unleashed on the world Friday — it contains the text "Password List for
      March 26, 1999."
      The virus can allow documents to be e-mailed to other people without
      warning, a potential security breach that should worry businesses and
      governments, an expert at Carnegie Mellon University said Saturday.
      "Melissa" spreads via infected e-mail and attacks computers loaded with
      Microsoft's widely used Word 97 or Word 2000 programs, according to CERT
      -
      or Computer Emergency Response Team - Carnegie Mellon's Department of
      Defense-funded computer security team.
      CERT first heard of the virus Friday afternoon and its members worked
      through the night to analyze the virus and develop a fix, CERT manager
      Katherine Fithen said.
      "We're getting so many reports from across the world., that we know this
      is
      going to be a huge problem come Monday," Fithen said.
      She noted that since CERT was founded 10 years ago, this is only the
      second
      time it has considered a virus important enough to warrant a public
      announcement. The first, in 1994, warned of a virus that allowed
      computer
      burglars to collect passwords.
      SPREADING RAPIDLY
      CERT has not determined where the Melissa virus originated.
      Fithen said she is not allowed to say whether any governmental agency
      has
      suffered a security breach as the result of Melissa.
      Friday, a spokesman from Network Associates said the company received
      one
      e-mail every three minutes starting at 8 a.m. from clients complaining
      about the file.
      "It's spreading much faster than happy99," he said.
      About 60,000 users were infected at the company which made the first
      complaint, said Srivhes Sampath, general manager of McAfee Online. "It
      pretty much brings mail systems to a halt ... We've never seen anything
      spread like this."
      The Melissa macro is spreading so fast for two reasons; it sends 50
      copies
      of itself out after it infects a user; and, it is often able to fool
      potential victims into thinking the mail came from a trusted source.
      After infecting a user, the macro reads the victim's registry and gleans

      the user's name. It then sends 50 copies of itself to e-mail addresses
      included in that user's address book. The subject line of those mails
      includes the infected user's name (it reads "Important message from
      [user
      name]"), which often tricks potential victims into trusting the message
      and
      opening the attached document, according to Network Associates.

      The user does not know he or she is infected until an e-mail recipient
      complains.
      "Word/Melissa written by Kwyjibo," is the text that accompanies the
      macro.
      The author also pokes fun at virus writers who he or she expects will
      argue
      about the exact classification of the pest, as often happens. "Works in
      both Word 2000 and Word 97. Worm? Macro Virus? Word 97 Virus? Word 2000
      Virus? You Decide!"
      Kwyjibo appears to be a reference to a "Simpsons" TV show episode in
      which
      Bart Simpson wins a Scrabble game by spelling out the word Kwyjibo. The
      virus also includes a line from that episode: "Twenty-two points, plus
      triple-word-score, plus fifty points for using all my letters. Game's
      over.
      I'm outta here."
      The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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