[svlug] LoveLetter reporting -- Microsoft, not computer, virus

Rick Kwan kenobi at coruscant.lightsaber.com
Fri May 5 00:55:51 PDT 2000

(I think I just let a message thru with a null body... sorry
about that.)

I have to admit to a certain amount of glee when someone sends me
a message saying, "DON'T OPEN THAT MAIL!"  I write back and say,
"Sorry.  I don't run Windows; I'm immune to this virus."

We've probably had this thread before, but given the questions
posed we probably should do it again.  So let me play devil's
advocate for a moment.

  * What stops someone from writing a virus that attacks a
    mailer (e.g., Netscape) on a UNIX/Linux system?  Couldn't someone
    just as easily read the address book there and propagate
    the attack?  Isn't it just a case of Linux systems not being
    so widespread?

  * Can't a virus wipe out a hard drive on a Linux system just as
    easily as a Windows box?  (Explain this to a non-computer type.)

  * Given the gravity of the attack, why don't the computer security
    folks just come out and say, "This software architecture is
    poorly conceived; Windows needs to be fixed."?  I have yet to
    see this particular statement.  (This one actually bothers me,
    especially after the "Linux users are sloppy" discussion.)

--Rick Kwan
  rick.kwan at lightsaber.com

Jeffrey B. Siegal <jbs at quiotix.com> wrote:
> When contacting the press via legacy technologies here are a couple of
> issue to suggest they investigate:
> 1. Why, despite multiple occurances of such viruses, does Microsoft
> refuse to remove the ill-conceived and poorly designed "features" which
> allow such viruses to exist?
> 2. Why, despite having caused, on multiple occasions, at least hundreds
> of millions of dollars in damages, including to innocent third parties
> not even using Microsoft products, shouldn't Outlook and Exchange be
> considered "defective products"?

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