Meet The Worm Du Jour (1/27/04)
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Say, speaking of security updates, did you happen to find anything interesting in your inbox this morning? Like, say, oh, we don't know... eleven kajillion email messages with a subject of "hi" or "Server Report" or something similarly lame, all carrying suspicious-looking attachments? 'Cause boy howdy, we sure did. We couldn't tell you how many we received, because we've been up all night and deleting as we go, but we've got Mail set to fetch new messages every five minutes, and in one check it pulled in twenty of the lil' buggers. So we figure it's a safe bet that we're well into three digits by now, and that's just overnight. It's fun for the whole family!

So just what the fuzzy is going on, you ask? Aw, c'mon, take a wild running stab at a guess. Here's a hint: it begins with a "v," it rhymes with "Cyrus," and it's one more thing Microsoft will never have to pay for. Yes, folks, you guessed it: we're seeing the fallout from the latest mass-mailing virus (well, worm, technically, but virus sounds so much scarier) to hit the 'net. Faithful viewer Mike Flender forwarded us the facts, all chock-full of detaily goodness. Apparently this one's going by the name "Novarg" or "Mydoom," depending on which antivirus software company you listen to, and while it's apparently not terribly dangerous, it does appear to be spreading pretty fast; we certainly didn't get anywhere near this much mail when previous mass-mailing worms did their crazy rampage thing.

Reportedly this worm opens a back door on infected systems, allowing scary ne'er-do-wells access to the system's network resources and the "ability to download and execute arbitrary files." Also, starting on February 1st, infected machines will automatically bombard SCO's web site with traffic in a denial-of-service attack, which will really cripple SCO in a big way, since it always does a ton of 'net business on Super Bowl Sunday. (Sheesh, you'd think these virus writers would check a TV Guide before coding in a DoS date.) Most noticeably, though, it scans the systems it infects for email addresses and then sends itself to everyone it can find; we just got three more of the infected messages in our last five-minutely mail check. It's everywhere, we tell you, and if nothing else it's probably going to clog email systems something fierce.

Needless to say (but we'll say it anyway), Macs can't be infected by Novarg/Mydoom, so you needn't worry about your iBook sending out mass worm mail or being commandeered remotely by spooky evil hacker types or automatically attacking SCO's servers during halftime of the Big Game. (Although we suppose you could replicate that last bit of behavior with a smidge of AppleScript and join in voluntarily, if you're a SCO-hater at heart.) If you're feeling left out, though, take solace in the fact that at least you'll get to share the pain by weeding out a ton of harmless-but-annoying worm messages until the Windows world gets its shots up to date. Why, it's the next best thing to being infected!


 
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The above scene was taken from the 1/27/04 episode:

January 27, 2004: Apple celebrates the Mac's 20th birthday with a security update and revised AirPort software. Meanwhile, a new Windows worm is clogging email inboxes worldwide, and Virginia Tech confirms that it plans to Xservify its Mac-based supercomputer...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 4469: Birthday Products After All (1/27/04)   Boy, are our faces red! We spent all that time yesterday trying to debunk the reports that Apple had hidden "1.26.04" in its digitally-altered 1984 commercial as a clever hint that the company would unveil something as momentous as the original Macintosh on that date, and what happened?...

  • 4471: Slimming Down For 2004 (1/27/04)   Who knew that supercomputers make New Year's Resolutions? Not us, we can tell you that much. We always figured that resolutions were strictly the domain of shiftless layabouts like ourselves, who delight in the sheer absurdity inherent in an empty promise of self-improvement that will almost certainly wind up broken even before Dick Clark's New Year's Eve stops Rockin'...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

Vote Early, Vote Often!
Why did you tune in to this '90s relic of a soap opera?
Nostalgia is the next best thing to feeling alive
My name is Rip Van Winkle and I just woke up; what did I miss?
I'm trying to pretend the last 20 years never happened
I mean, if it worked for Friends, why not?
I came here looking for a receptacle in which to place the cremated remains of my deceased Java applets (think about it)

(451 votes)

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