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The Melissa Computer Virus

Melissa

This is what you'll see if you receive the Melissa Virus

Melissa is a Macro Virus
Macro Viruses are imbedded in a spreadsheet or word-processor document. When the document is opened the macro virus does its nasty work. In the case of the Melissa virus, it uses your email program to send a copy of its self to the first 50 people in your email address book.

If you receive email that looks like the above, you have the potential to become infected. You wont become infected if you DO NOT open the attachment.

1. It may be from someone you know. But they don't know they sent it.

2. The subject line will read, "Important Message From" and the name may be someone you know.

3. The body of the mail will read, "Here is that document you asked for don't show anyone else ;-)"

4. The attachment, where this nasty little bug lives, has the name of list.doc.

The program is somewhat devious in that it sends itself from the email addresses of people who are likely to be familiar contacts, arriving as email with the subject line "Important message from..." followed by the sender's name. The body says "Here is that document you asked for ... don't show anyone else ;-)." The email includes an attached Word file "list.doc," which includes the porn sites' addresses.

The virus doesn't appear to cause any damage to infected computers except in rare cases when the minutes of the current time match the date--for example at 4:26 p.m. on March 26. In this instance, the virus will insert the Bart Simpson quotation, "Twenty-two points, plus triple-word-score, plus fifty points for using all my letters. Game's over. I'm outta here" into a user's active document.

Somewhat like the mathematical progression of a pyramid scheme, the Melissa Virus sends 50 copies of its self to others. Then they each send 50 copies (that's 2500) then those 2500 send 50 to 125000, then they send 6,250,000. In just 6 hops nasty Melissa could be sent to over 300 million people. There's a very real possibility that the virus could overwhelm mail servers.

Melissa Copycats

Right on the heels of the Melissa virus comes a bunch of copycats. Mad-Cow, the subject line reads, "Mad cow joke." and the attachment's name is "madcow.doc"

Papa virus, a Melissa variant that is carried by Excel documents and sends out 60 emails when opened. The virus contains the subject line "Fwd: Workbook from all.net and Fred Cohen" and a body reading "Urgent info inside. Disregard macro warning."

Syndicate has a subject line reading: "Fun and games from" followed by the name of someone you know. Its body reads "Hi! Check out this neat doc I found on the Internet!" Like Melissa, it includes a Word document containing the virus.

Marauder is yet another Melissa variant. These particular classes of viruses are very easy to write, so I expect just about anyone with a computer and a bad disposition will be writing these little gems in the near future.



What Should I Do If I See This Email?

If you receive this Melissa Virus, or any of the others, DO NOT OPEN THE ATTACHMENT and you won't get infected.

It's that easy! Just don't open the attachment and you will be perfectly safe.

If you think your computer is already infected give me a call or Email Me and I can help you get rid of it.

If you receive the Melissa Virus you may want to send the following text back to the sender, so that they will know that they are infected. Just Copy and Paste the following text into your out going email:


Your computer recently sent me an email that appears to be the "Melissa Virus", or one of its variants. I would suggest that you have your computer checked for this virus. You can learn more about this, and other troublesome bugs, at the following web site:

http://www.jrwhipple.com/melissa.html

Thank you for your help in keepping the Internet a bug free place.


Think You Might Have The Melissa Virus?

If you think your computer may be infected by the Melissa Virus, the following link will allow you to download a test for it: Melissa Test If you encounter any problems with this download, E-Mail Me Ask for the Melissa test and I will send a copy to you be email.

NOTICE: If you do not have Microsoft's Word 97 or better, you can't get the Melissa virus or use the above test.

For a good anti-virus program try: McAfee & Associates.


More About Email Attachment Problems

As April 1st looms on the horizon once again, I feel a responsibility to warn my friends and clients about potential computer problems that may ensue.

At most major holidays, especially April Fools Day, many computer users can’ t resist the urge to email pranks or humorous attachments to others online. Most of these attachments are harmless and do little more than temporally cause your computer to flip its display upside down, play an odd sound, or display some other nonsense. A small number of these foolish attachments may contain a virus that could cause all manner of problems with your computer. A larger number of these attachments are so poorly written that they may pose a crashing problem to your computer. Many attachments are, in fact, just little programs. Like any other program that you install on your computer, some of these attachments may interact poorly with your computer’s operating system or other programs on your computer and cause hangs and crashes.

If you receive any jokes or other attachments, I strongly suggest you resist the urge to open or run the attachment. Five minutes of entertainment now could cause you days or weeks of grief in the future.

A little fun is always a good thing. Sending written jokes and humorous text or static pictures to others is fine, but please try to refrain from including any executable attachments, no matter how safe or funny you may think they are.

I make it a rule that if anyone, even someone I know, sends me an executable program, word, or excel attachment, before I open it, I send a confirming email back to the sender, asking if they in fact sent it, and what it contains. If they tell me, “It’s a cute little thing for my screen” or other useless nonsense, I delete it without opening it. If it’s something I truly need I may decide to open it. When in doubt throw it out!

I have dual removable hard drives, so I never have to worry about my hard drive becoming contaminated. If you are interested in my dual drive solution, and don't already have one of my dual drive systems, visit the following web page: Dual-Drives

A good general rule is: "Don't open *.BAT, *.EXE, *.COM, *.DOC, or *.XLS attachments, unless you check with the sender to insure they actually intended to send you the file, and can vouch for its pedigree." Don't worry about images like jpg, gif, bmp, tif, etc. or text files "*.TXT", thay are safe to open and can't contain a virus.

There are two types of files/attachments that end in COM. Ones that start with WWW. or HTTP:// are URLs "Web page addresses", and are perfectly safe to open. Any attachments that have eight or fewer characters to the left of the dot and COM to the right of the dot, and do not start with www or http://, are executable programs and could contain a virus.

The best virus protection is a good Anti-Virus program. One of the best is from McAfee & Associates.

I hope this helps you keep and maintain a proper and safely running computer. If you have any computer related questions or needs, feel free to call or Email Me.



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