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August 20th, 2003

The SoBig Virus

I’ve got to say that the latest virus making the rounds, SoBig, sucks. Big time.

Yesterday morning, I noticed that I was getting an unusually high amount of junk mail. SpamAssassin, thankfully, was diverting it over to the purgatory I’ve devoted to spam, but there were so many. By about 10am, I had over 25 messages. By 4pm, I had in excess of 80 – all with the same few subjects, the same attachments, and a near-identical size (108k).

In addition, though, something else cropped up: messages were being bounced back to me as undeliverable. Of course, I hadn’t sent any of these messages; the virus simply ruffles through one’s address book and web cache to get phony “From:” addresses. But some overzealous mail admins bounce back messages with viruses – thus, I got ’em, even though I didn’t send them.

Whenever a virus hits like this, it’s little more than annoyance for me since I’m not on Windows; bandwidth sucking is the bigger issue. I had 80 messages, the Ping got over 200, and I’m sure other people got more. But why don’t people step back and look at the bigger picture when this happens? Be smart about email, be smart about attachments, and if you have to run Windows, you have to apply patches.

Posted in Technology

FROM: Paul
DATE: Wednesday August 20, 2003 -- 9:04:31 am
Also, I just checked my spam haven and I had 68 messages there - only 5 were real spam. 63 were the virus. I also got 6 more bounced messages this morning.

I'm leaving my Windows hatred out of this Ping, but let me tell you, it's really difficult sometimes.



FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday August 20, 2003 -- 9:08:12 am
At least I know it wasn't me..I kept getting email from people I didn't know, with attachments. I just tossed the emails without ever opening them..good thing. I've got Norton up-to-date, but still, why take chances?



FROM: Ryan
DATE: Wednesday August 20, 2003 -- 9:50:18 am
I don't think it's necessarily *just* a Windows problem... sure, its design has abundant security holes and M$ isn't exactly proactive about fixing things, but I'm willing to bet that there are similar types of holes in the Mac OS, but the user base just isn't big enough for virus writers to bother with finding those holes. It's similar to what another Pinger said when I advised everyone to stop using Outlook forever... the high profile nature of the Windows OS means that those looking to exploit holes have the biggest audience, and thus Windows remains the primary target of these attacks.

And, yes, SoBig does suck.



FROM: Greg
DATE: Wednesday August 20, 2003 -- 10:01:03 am
I think I've mentioned this before but the only saving grace for AOL users is that we don't have to download anything before we view it and have the ability to delete it.

A simple fix to these worms is to keep out address book in our head. Sure, some people don't have enough "disc space" to keep it all but I'm sure most Pingers can.



FROM: Paul
DATE: Wednesday August 20, 2003 -- 10:05:11 am
Yeah, there are holes in OS X or a Linux distro that could easily be exploited, I'm sure - but since neither one has the massive marketshare that MS does, that stuff stays away for now.

But not using Outlook would be a start.



FROM: Chris
DATE: Wednesday August 20, 2003 -- 12:46:02 pm
If your on Winblows, using a 3rd party mail client like Pocomail helps a lot. Poco doesn't execute scripts, and it uses its own address book so even if you get the virus it can't propogate from your machine since the Windows address book is empty. You did remember to delete your Windows address book once you dumped Outlook Express, right?



FROM: towinlovinit
DATE: Wednesday August 20, 2003 -- 1:43:49 pm
Sorry to say that I do have Windows and I like it alot. but what can you say about a computer rookie?
I have not had any problems with this so called worm...(knock on computer screen)..... I have AOL and like it just fine. But then what do I look for anyway on the internet? Nothing much except to read all the pings. Lucky I quess.



FROM: Ryan
DATE: Wednesday August 20, 2003 -- 3:46:09 pm
I think the problem could be solved by a few very simple steps:

1. Like Chris mentioned, either using a third party e-mail client or making sure that Outlook won't execute content automatically.

2. Install a virus scanner for Chrissake. Avast has a very good one that's absolutely free.

3. From the ISP side, it would be quite nice if ISPs could easily react to a fast spreading virus by simply disallowing any e-mail that fits that viruses' profile (for instance, with the SoBig, it could go based strictly on the subject line and whether or not there's an attachement). If the ISP stops it and just dumps it to /dev/null, the end user never even has to deal with it. Even if the five largest ISPs did this, I bet it would seriously slow the spread of viruses since the majority of people that are spreading them are not going to be using a small, local ISP.



FROM: Julieann
DATE: Thursday August 21, 2003 -- 5:57:51 pm
so how do I solve sobig? My computer is popping up a norton anit virus window saying it is scanning my outgoing message that I have sent...which I haven't. the windows are coming faster than I can close them.



FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday August 21, 2003 -- 6:59:23 pm
Here's the worst part of it: An email list that I'm on tried to send me the virus twice: No biggie, I spotted it, and deleted the emails without opening.

The real problem is all the retards who reply to the email address of the list, saying "HEY, IS THIS A VIRUSSS?"..those emails still flood into my box, and everyone else on the list..

Stupid people should be neutered.



FROM: Paul
DATE: Saturday August 23, 2003 -- 11:55:22 am
If you have an anti-virus program, Julieann, update its virus definitions - most of them have a fix out for SoBig.

Last night, I had a whopping 110 messages delivered to me that had the virus. Apparently it's still quite rampant.



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