Re: dreams of a better world

From: Stirling Westrup (
Date: Sun Mar 12 2000 - 16:05:30 MST

Spike Jones wrote:

> > Spike Jones wrote:
> > > ... Could one write a virus that sits in an email message
> > > that does nothing other than forward a copy of itself to a random
> > > person on the receiver's email list? ...
> >
> > Anton Sherwood wrote: Isn't that what "Melissa" did?
> Ja I suppose so. I should make it clear, I dont want to actually
> *virus* anyone. I want to make it clear that any malicious yahoo
> *could* cause any innocent person with an email account to
> break the law, if a law is ever passed holding one accountable
> for what a person once posted on the internet.

Just doing what you said *would* virus someone. There are many, many known
cases of a virus having harmful effects that weren't intended. The
simplest is that if the virus infects a large company, the sudden deluge
of mail being sent from all of the machines could crash the mail servers,
and make work impossible. Remember, if the virus has to propagate then it
has to send itself out at least twice, since not all mail systems will be
vulnerable, and a virus that mails itself out once will die at the 3rd or
4th system, on average. (ie, the first linux box.) Of course, if it sends
itself out more than once then it can (and at some point probably will)
experience exponential growth, and that will cause problems.

I'm not saying that it is impossible to write a virus with no harmful side
effects, just that no one has yet succeeded.

 Stirling Westrup  |  Use of the Internet by this poster       |  is not to be construed as a tacit
                   |  endorsement of Western Technological
                   |  Civilization or its appurtenances.

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