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Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Melissa virus turning 10

Somewhere out there in America is a stripper (or former stripper) who for 10 years has lived with the naked truth that she was David L. Smith's inspiration for naming the first widely destructive, self-propagating, network-paralyzing, e-mail-borne macro virus: W97M_Melissa.

Here is a real Jewish Virus

When the 10th anniversary of Melissa's explosive debut occurs later this week, perhaps its namesake will celebrate her notoriety quietly with friends, family and/or her bigger tippers. Those IT professionals who had to deal with the fallout a decade ago are more likely to mutter an obscenity or two.

It was Friday, March 26, 1999 when Melissa first began to bring corporate and government e-mail systems to their knees. By the time all was said and done, hundreds of networks would be temporarily crippled -- including those of Microsoft and the United States Marine Corps -- an untold number of e-mail users would be affected, and an overall damage figure of $80 million bandied about. As for Smith, he would be unmasked by an Internet sleuth, arrested at his brother's house in Eatontown, N.J., eventually plead guilty and be sentenced to 20 months of jailhouse lap dances.

"We've been swamped all day with customers calling in with this," a TrendMicro executive told CNET News that day. "It's spreading extremely quickly. Twenty major corporate sites have called us." More