Maurice A. O'Sullivan
mauros at iol.ie
Wed Dec 23 06:54:06 EST 1998
I appreciate that your motives are for the best, but along with excellent
advice you are uneccesarily spreading alarm and despondency.
>>In these cases, the ASCII is the virus. So, don't open attachments from
>anyone you don't know.<<
The second part is the good advice, the first is simply not true.
The README for the latest version of Eudora makes it clear where the danger
lay in the first version they produced for Win98:
>>This version inlcudes the fix for the potential security breach in Eudora
Pro that could allow someone to maliciously send a file attachment to an
e-mail causing files to erase or simply install a virus <<.
>>We now give you additional options via the user interface to control
executable code that may be present in some form in a message.
* Tools|Options|Viewing mail|Allow executables in HTML content. This is
OFF by default.
* Tools|Options|Extra Warnings|Warn me when I launch a program from a
message. This is ON by default.
The basis of all viruses is that 'something' has to execute for them to
have any effect.
You can see this from the two default settings above.
However, ASCII _on its own_ cannot execute.
One way which the vandals seized on in the first version of Eudora 4 ( and
Netscape v.4 as well ) was to exploit the _very long_ file names possible
in this version to carry code which would wreak its damage ONCE THE FILE
Another way is to exploit weaknesses in the design of the macro software. [
see below ]
But, for the last time, ASCII on its own cannot execute.
BTW, users of ANY version of Eudora prior to v. 4 have nothing to fear.
One other thing: you do realize, don't you, that you have unwittingly
contributed to an urban legend.
Have a look at:
There you will find a paper from an International Conference: 25-27 March
1998, Bristol, UK
with the title:
Virtual Urban Legends: Investigating the Ecology of the World Wide Web
It makes fascinating reading !!
At the risk of making this posting too long to be effective ( wasn't it
Pascal who apologized for a long letter on the grounds that he did not have
the time to write a short one ? ) could I repeat a genuine alert which
first appeared only two days ago?
We were asked to:
>> be aware of a new class of Microsoft Word macro viri that spread via
email. The viri infect MS Word files and have reportedly already caused a
number of network crashes.<<
We were told;
>>The viri, officially named the "MS Word 97 Macro Class Virus,"
create a pop-up box in Microsoft Word 97 files that addresses
the recipient of the email message by name and calls the user "a
big stupid jerk."
"It is the No. 1 virus in the world right now," said Vincent
Gullotto, manager of the antivirus emergency response team for
Network Associates, formerly known as McAfee.<<
The basic advice echoes your own --
>> "users should never, under
any circumstances, load a program that came to them via email
from an unknown source. And, even file attachments from
acquaintances should be carefully reviewed because your
colleagues may not be as contentious as you."
Maurice A. O'Sullivan [ Bray, Ireland ]
mauros at iol.ie
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