The Melissa Worm Or The Melissa Virus - It Doesn't Matter What You Call Her - The Damage Was Done



We're not talking insects and grubs here, nor some creepy crawly bug that comes out at night and bites you in the ass, we're talking about a virus, The Melissa Worm, that relies on security breaches and failures as a mode of entry. A stand alone computer program that replicates itself to spread, a fast-spreading mass mailing super macro virus, that targeted Microsoft Word and Outlook Express through e-mail. It goes by other names as well: Malissa Worm spelt with an 'a', Simpsons, Kwyjibo and Kwejeebo just to name a few. It affected Windows 2000 and Windows XP. The Melissa Worm in actuality was never a worm but a macro virus.

David L. Smith released the worm (virus) in written code around March 26,1999, causing $80 million dollars in damage by disrupting personal as well as business and government computers.  He was sentenced to ten years of hard labour for his efforts but only served 20 months and fined $5,000. A slap on the wrist.

Worms cause a lot of damage mostly by consuming bandwidth if anything else, not like a virus that corrupts and modifies files. The term 'worm' was coined in the novel written by John Brunners novel in 1975' The Shockwave Rider. Back in 1988 The Morris Worm was released. A man by the name of Robert Tappan was the first person to be convicted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for releasing it onto the unsuspecting public.

We haven't been hit by any worms or viruses lately, none that I know about anyway, but I'm sure there's a geek out there right now working out some formula for an attack. They say we're being attacked all the time. A new one is unleashed as another gets deprogrammed. One right after the other.

Worms and viruses install an open back door to computers allowing them to be remotely manipulated. Security experts say we need to be more wary of opening up unexpected email,~especially ones saying 'I LOVE YOU' Remember that email~ from unknown persons or businesses and to have anti-spyware, firewalls and anti-virus software installed on your machine and kept up to date. 

One day it will all end, worms will be a thing of the past. Until then, there's Mary, Helen and Josephine waiting to be released.











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