Study Guide

General Information Page -

Background of the Melissa Virus

  • Friday, March 26th - Melissa Virus posted to message board
  • Affects Word 97 and 2000 macros and replicates itself using Microsoft Outlook automatic emailings
  • Discernable by email subject "Important message from [username]"
  • Overloads email systems of many users and companies all over the US
  • Suspect David Smith arrested Thursday, April 1st after leads provided by AOL

David Smith - The Tracking of the Suspect and his Apparent Motives

  • Inital email traced to - owner denies he wrote the virus
  • GUID's, or traceable identification numbers, are found in virus - leads to reverse engineering of ethernet address
  • Link to VicodinES discovered - "retired" virus writer
  • AOL provides information on user based on date and time
  • David Smith is arrested - but pleads innocent to all counts claiming he never intended to do wrong
  • Still questionable whether Smith is VicodinES or whether he borrowed VicodinES's code

Variants and Implications

  • Melissa Virus thought by some to be a beneficial eye-opener to possible future viruses
  • However, also thought to be a precedent for malicious virus writers
  • Variants such as Papa and Mad Cow created but hardly noticeable
  • Segue to possible viruses that may execute without needing to execute attachments?