[svlug] Virus FUD

Rick Kwan kenobi at coruscant.lightsaber.com
Sat May 6 03:34:11 PDT 2000

As a first pass, I'm going to suggest what other people have
suggested to me.  Rick Moen's techno-rant at
is a well-written explanation for the technical reader of why Linux
is less virus-prone.

But I wouldn't throw it at someone who is not clued in on the
difference between supervisor and user modes.  I'm afraid it
will pass right by them.  On top of that, Rick's article has a
considerable amount of UNIX-ese or GNU-ese in it, which will lose
a lot of non-technical folks.

I feel like we need to reach company CIOs and CEOs.  These people
manage and delegate things of which they have only rudimentary
understanding.  (Sounds dangerous, eh?)  But when things are
critical to their companies, and they feel they must rapidly educate
themselves under certain time pressure to make an informed decision,
they will do so.  In the last couple of days, these people have
lots an incredible amount of company productivity.  This type of
loss makes them take notice.

Some technical author with a flair for reaching the non-technical
ought to take this on.  (Anyone want to try writing for an airline

--Rick Kwan, Lightsaber Computing
  rick.kwan at lightsaber.com

> From: Kenneth Kellum <kellum at mathcs.sjsu.edu>
> Organization: San Jose State University
> To: Richard Jennings <Richard_Jennings at sandia.gov>, SVLUG at svlug2.svlug.org
> Subject: Re: [svlug] Virus FUD
> Question.  The LOVEBUG worm exploited the ability of a malicious Visual Basic
> program to damage a system.
> If a similar worm was written to attack a Linux system, could a malicious Perl
> (say) program do the same damage to that system?
> I suspect the answer is "no", but I'd like to hear from more knowledgable folks.
> On Fri, 05 May 2000, Richard Jennings wrote:
> > I emailed someone in our corporate headquarters the suggestion that maybe
> > it's time to look at something other than Outlook as a corporate standard.
> > Here was his reply:
> > 
> > >Maybe. Maybe not. 2-3 of the natl and intl stories I read on it this morning
> > >make the point that Outlook was apparently targeted primarily because it's
> > >widely used. If we and most other orgs move to X, then hackers will target
> > >X. there's nothing inherent in Outlook that makes it more vulnerable than
> > >other systems, they point out.
> > 
> > I think I'll spend part of the weekend gathering some data to send his
> > way.:) Any pointers appreciated.
> > 
> > Richard

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