On 10 Nov 1999 16:36:45 GMT, in misc.activism.progressive Ian Goddard <Ian@goddard.net> wrote: >The Associated Press is reporting a new virus can infect >via email without your having to open an attached file, >just highlighting the email in the in-box of Microsoft's >Outlook Express will do it, and it will start attacking >data on your hard drive. Bad news! Here's the low down: > >http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/aponline/19991109/aponline220942_000.htm > > 'Seinfeld' Computer Virus Emerges > > By Ron Harris > Associated Press Writer > Tuesday, Nov. 9, 1999; 10:09 p.m. EST > > SAN FRANCISCO -- A dangerous new type of e-mail > virus emerged on Tuesday, able to destroy information > on computers even when users are careful not to fully > open the messages. > > The virus, nicknamed "Bubbleboy" after an episode of > the TV show "Seinfeld," was e-mailed late Monday to > researchers at Network Associates, a computer security > company in Santa Clara. The company put a free > software patch capable of blocking the attack on their > Web site Tuesday. > > "This ushers in the next evolution in viruses. It breaks > one of the long-standing rules that you have to open an > e-mail attachment to become infected," said Network > Associates spokesman Sal Viveros. "That's all changed > now." > > The company isn't certain who sent the virus, but > researchers believed its threat is so serious that they > notified the FBI on Tuesday, said Vincent Gullotto, > director of the company's virus detection team. > > "It could basically disable your PC easily," Gullotto > said. "This could be a watershed." > > The virus sent Monday night was more playful than > destructive as it wormed its way through a computer's > hard drive, renaming the computer's registered owner as > "Bubbleboy" and making other references to "Seinfeld." > It also takes every address in a computer's e-mail > program and passes the virus along. > > The same technology, when paired with previously > known malicious commands, could be used to steal > personal information or erase a computer's hard drive > entirely -- attacks that, given the history of hacker > culture, Gullotto believes could appear within two to > three months. > > "This could be the catalyst," Gullotto said. "While the > Melissa virus was 'hell coming to dinner,' we have > reassessed that and know that something bigger, meaner > and nastier is on it's way." > > The Melissa computer virus clogged e-mail systems > around the world when it hit in March, but many > computer users were able to avoid trouble by deleting > the e-mails without reading them. Like other e-mail > viruses, Melissa wreaked havoc only after users > double-clicked an attachment to the seemingly benign > messages. > > "Bubbleboy" only requires that the e-mail be previewed > on the Inbox screen of Microsoft's Outlook Express, a > popular e-mail program. As soon as the e-mail is > highlighted, without so much as a click of a mouse, it > infects the computer. > > The virus affects computers with Windows 98 and some > versions of Windows 95 that also use Microsoft's > Internet Explorer 5.0 and Outlook Express Web browser > and e-mail programs. It apparently does not affect > Netscape's e-mail programs, Gullotto said. > > Even without Network Associates' software patch, there > is an easy fix. Enabling Microsoft's highest-security > filter will block such e-mails and keep the virus from > entering. > > Bill Pollak, a spokesman for the Computer Emergency > Response Team at Carnegie Mellon University, said his > researchers would be looking out for the new type of > virus. > > Researchers believe the virus, which appears as a black > screen with the words "The Bubbleboy incident, > pictures and sounds" in white letters, was sent by the > same person who created another virus in July - > "Freelink" - which forwarded e-mail with links to > pornographic Web sites to stolen e-mail addresses. > > ... > > A software patch created to protect against the virus is > available for free at www.mcafee.com. -- Graeme <http://webhome.idirect.com/~gbacque/gbacque.html> * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * "I told the priest; Don't count on any second coming - God got His ass kicked the first time He came down here slumming....." --Concrete Blonde, from their album 'Bloodletting'