May 16, 2000 12:58 PM   Subscribe

Blame MICRO$OFT for the "I love you" virus, ohh, and it has 40 authors to it
posted by tiaka (14 comments total)
Buen said: ''I know it is not a heroic act to exploit the vulnerabilities of such system,'' he said. ''But it is only Microsoft softwares that are vulnerable to viruses.''

Is he stupid or just dumb?
posted by ericost at 1:52 PM on May 16, 2000

I don't know...I recall reading an article about how Philipinos were really proud that some of the college students created this thing. The whole incident had turned into a national pride thing. And now, we hear that Philipino investigators are claiming that it has 40 authors? Perhaps the particular computer club has 40 members? And to think that the virus was released by accident? That's a bit far-fetched.

And don't forget that American journalists love to exaggerate the news. What sounds better -- that "one college student was responsible" or that "40 college students were responsible"?

Reggardless, the news media is eating this stuff up. It almost makes me sick to my stomach.
posted by camworld at 2:46 PM on May 16, 2000

<anology>"Yes, I shot all those people, but don't you see that it's their fault for not wearing bullet-proof vests?"</anology>
posted by deckard at 3:33 PM on May 16, 2000

A more appropriate analogy might be:
I work in a bomb disposal unit, and I got a box in the mail the other day that was ticking, so I opened it up, and it exploded in my face.

Unlike some "viruses", this one required you to be stupid enough to not just open an email entitled "ILOVEYOU", but to also open an attachment that had an unusual extension on it. Because we all know people we barely know shout their love at us, without any spacing, and all the time thru an attachment. This situation is more about user-stupidity than anything else, period. You wouldn't put a piece of candy from a stranger in your mouth, why do you open an email attachment you don't know? Idiots who make a practice of passing around those silly .exe cartoons are just that, idiots. What's the point of a world-wide web, if we are going to duplicate data, instead of doing the intelligent thing, and sending a link to whatever it is.
posted by nomisxid at 3:45 PM on May 16, 2000

>Unlike some "viruses", this one required you to be stupid
>enough to not just open an email entitled "ILOVEYOU",
>but to also open an attachment that had an unusual
>extension on it

Not to be anal, but didn't the ILOVEU viruswormtrojanthing launch itself once you opened the email?
posted by alan at 5:41 PM on May 16, 2000

I agree in spirit nomisxid; user stupidity is a MAJOR factor. At a former company that I worked at, the same partner who unleashed the Melissa virus in our office was also the first to run the ILOVEYOU attachment.

But you know, this virus was a bit trickier than you're giving it credit for. The attachment was entitled "LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.TXT.vbs", which to most people appeared as "LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.TXT" which seems like a pretty harmless file. Read more here.
posted by ericost at 6:15 PM on May 16, 2000

Depends on your client configuration, really.

I got a couple of ILOVEYOUs that did jack to me when viewing in plain text in the preview pane. (My own damn fault, really, for having the preview pane setup when I knew I'd be flooded with 'em)

But then, anyone who clicks on anything that appears isn't going to be viewing their mail in plain text, so it really boils back to being a stupid-user issue.
posted by cCranium at 6:16 PM on May 16, 2000

1. It did NOT launch itself upon reading the message, only upon opening the attachment.

2. If you have your system set up to ignore extensions, and suddenly you see an extension you already know ".TXT", THAT shold be a warning to you that something funky is going on.

posted by nomisxid at 6:43 PM on May 16, 2000

The common misconception I keep hearing about this is that the attachment opened itself. It did not! As far as I know, no version of Outlook has ever opened arbitrary attachments automatically. I think the first version opened gif and jpg attachments inline in the message, but it doesn't even do that anymore. HTML mail is processed, but I'm pretty sure the default security is even tighter than for standard web pages.

And about nomisxid's #2, from the tests I made, setting Explorer to hide file extensions did not affect Outlook. In other words, the attachments are displayed with their full file name, e.g. love-letter.txt.vbs

The fact is that most email users open any old attachment from people they know and probably open most attachments they get from people they don't know. At least the users I know do. Besides disallowing attachments or making it really difficult for users to open them, there really isn't anything that can be done besides to educate the user.

I don't even think anyone learned a lesson from this virus and I know they didn't learn from the Melissa virus last year. The fact is, unless they lost files to ILOVEYOU, they probably didn't realize what they had done, and to them, the fact that the email server was down part of that day had nothing to do with them.

Sorry for the long rant. I'll stop now! :)
posted by daveadams at 8:22 PM on May 16, 2000

40 authors? Is this some kind of "I Am Spartacus" scene?
posted by wendell at 10:28 PM on May 16, 2000

I dunno. Apparently the release coincided with graduation ceremonies, and perhaps it was some kind of grudge aimed at the school. They may have had no idea it would spread so far so fast (a la Robert Morris Jr.). I can easily imagine forty people contributing to that mess of code.
posted by dhartung at 11:36 PM on May 16, 2000

Two things - 1) The script could have been embedded to run as soon as the preview pane of Outlook launched it, but it wasn't, it was a pure attachment - that said, if you have a preview pane running in your email program, make sure it won't run scripts, or sooner or later you'll get nailed.

2) With regard to the possiblilities of the worm having 40 authors, this doesn't surprise me. Many works with a large number of authors are astoundingly bad. Did anyone see The Flintstones?
posted by Willy-Yam at 3:16 PM on May 17, 2000

Does anyone read Slashdot? :)
posted by dhartung at 3:22 PM on May 17, 2000

Not if we can avoid it...
posted by baylink at 9:48 AM on May 18, 2000

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