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Re[2]: Fwd: INTERNET VIRUS ALERT - BULL!

From: <@sendxmail.hlp.com>
Date: 07 Apr 1995 10:50:08 +0100
To: www-talk@www10.w3.org (Non Receipt Notification Requested) (IPM Return Requested)
Message-Id: <085010070495*"/PN=paul kendall/O=hlp/PRMD=eprix400/ADMD=mci/C=us/"@sendxmail>
     I have received over 2200 of these in the past week. What's the deal?
     
     Also, I have requested on three separate occassions that I be dropped 
     from the discussion group, with no response. Please drop me, 
     unsibscribe me, or whatever it takes to get me off the list.
     
     
     Thanks,
     
     Paul L. Kendall


______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: Fwd: INTERNET VIRUS ALERT - BULL!
Author:  www-talk@www10.w3.org at X400
Date:    3/31/95 12:52 PM


> From: Fell_Travis/dal11_tjfell@dal.mobil.com 
>
> Item Subject: Message text
> ---- Begin Forwarded Message
>
> Today (3/30/95) I received a copy of an e-mail ... regarding a new 
> virus
> called GOOD TIMES that originated from someone on AOL. 
>
> This virus ... is extremely destructive ... 
>
> The virus can be detected as an e-mail message with the subject line 
> reading "Good Times."  ...
>
> The virus is launched when the e-mail is loaded into the mail server's 
> ASCII buffer and it is highly intelligent...it will send copies of
     
I strongly doubt that.  (And see below for stronger opinion.)
     
Viruses are instructions that need something to execute them.  (Biological 
viruses effectively are chemical instructions that need the chemical environ- 
ment of a cell to execute them; computer viruses are instructions in some form 
(e.g., hardware instructions, shell commands, mailer control file commands) 
that need some agent (e.g., hardware, shell, mailer program) to execute them.)
     
There have been mail viruses (or were they worms?), but as far as I know they 
are executed by the software that moves mail around, not by the end-users mail 
reader.
     
(For example, here's a virus:
     
"Send a copy of this sentence to someone else."
     
It is instructions to you, the human reader.  If you follow the instructions, 
it propagates; if you don't, it doesn't; if you ignore it and delete it, it 
dies.
     
Obviously, this virus isn't very effective, because humans usually will 
choose not to follow the instructions.  But it is a virus.
     
Hey!  I just realized---THE FORWARDED RUMOR IS A VIRUS!  (It doesn't 
explicitly contain instructions to forward it, but it's written knowing that 
people repeat rumors, so that's an implicit instruction to forward it. 
Therefore, it is a virus.)
     
But I, one valiant little antibody in the Internet immune system, have 
recognized the invader, and have mutated it, hopefully sentencing it to 
death.
     
(Now if only someone could do something about those (ex-?) lawyers who keep 
spamming the Internet...)
     
)
     
> ....  Once a computer is infected, one of
> several things can happen.  The hard drive will most likely be 
> destroyed.
> If the program is not stopped, the computer's processor will be placed 
> in
> an nth-complexity infinite binary loop which can severly damage the 
> processor.
     
THIS IS 100% BULLSHIT!  Infinite loops don't damage CPUs.  And infinite 
loops are infinite loops; there's no such thing as "an nth-complexity 
infinite binary loop."
     
If readers don't believe me yet, then consider this:  The warning doesn't 
say anything about which kind(s) of computer the virus infects.  Because 
viruses are instructions, they can only infect hardware or software that 
understands and executes that type of instructions.  The only thing machines 
have to have in common to exchange mail is they they understand and process 
mail formats.  Therefore, any mail virus must be composed of instructions
in mail-exchange protocols, and those protocols aren't powerful enough to 
express the instructions needed to erase a disk (maybe fill it up with junk, 
but not erase it).
     
> REMEMBER...if you receive a piece of e-mail with the subject called Good 
> Times, DO NOT READ IT...DELETE IT IMMEDIATELY.
> ...
> --
> raley@rain.org
> ventura, California
> ---- End Forwarded Message
>
     
So...
     
Why did this bogus rumor start?
- Someone naive misunderstood something, including maybe a joke? 
- Some idiot decided to start a rumor?
- Someone is trying to prevent someone else's message from being read?
     
Why is Fell_Travis (dal11_tjfell@dal.mobil.com) passing it along?
- He (or she?) didn't know that it was bullshit, and was innocently passing 
	along a warning?
- He is an accomplice?
     
     
Daniel
--
Daniel S. Barclay                                         daniel@compass-da.com 
	"They listen hard, and act like they care.
	 How can they be so completely unaware
	 Of the truth?  The answer is always denied me
	 So I introduce 'em to the killer inside me." - MC 900 Ft. Jesus
Received on Friday, 7 April 1995 11:46:05 UTC

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