My son suggested I watch a video on the MyDoom virus and I wondered if I had blogged about it back in 2004. It’s 2021 now and yes, here are my words from 17 years ago! Also, here’s the video I was watching.
The links in this post are dead but here’s archive.org to the rescue:
This is the transcript Gavin McCullagh posted here.
David Hanley: ‘The fastest spreading email worm in history’ is how internet security experts describe the so-called ‘MyDoom’ email worm. The MyDoom email worm was primed to attack S-C-O’s website on Sunday. The experts say it’ll move on to target Microsoft Corporation tomorrow. S-C-O’s website http://www.sco.com remained offline last night. ‘A large scale Denial of Service attack has started that has made the company’s website http://www.sco.com completely unavailable,’ the S-C-O said in a statement.
Now, we’re joined in the centre city studio by the director of BUI Training, computer expert William Campbell.
William Campbell: Good morning.
DH: Good morning William Campbell.
WC: Good morning.
DH: Would you explain to me on behalf of others as ignorant as I am about email and all to do with it, what is an email worm?
WC: An email worm is, is a computer virus and a computer virus is a program that runs like Microsoft Word on your computer but it’s one that got on there when you didn’t want it to get on, em, usually by some sureptitious means, by somebody em, em, em sending it to you and getting it onto your computer like that.
DH: How does it manifest itself?
WC: Em, it’s possible you mightn’t notice at all. But, if your friends have this you’re probably getting lots of strange emails eh, from people who are, who are, eh, perhaps familiar to you, with an attachment saying ‘Please open this attachment’. Now, those emails are coming from the virus on somebody else’s computer and if you open that then you’ll probably be caught.
WC: Em, the reason you’ll be caught is because that will then install a little program on your computer and if you’re connected to the internet — which you probably are if you have email — then your computer will be taken over like a zombie and will act as though you’re trying to get through to this S-C-O website and make millions of requests for information from it and the cumulative effect of this, it’s like em, a million people ringing the RTE switchboard number at the same time. It’ll just knock out the system.
DH: So you’ll be completely disabled.
WC: Em, no. The, the website will be completely disabled. You’ll be…
DH: The website, I mean.
WC: Yes, yes. and, and effectively that’s what happened. So it was, it was successful in that respect.
DH: Why is this happening?
WC: Oh, oh, oh. This goes back to what’s called the ‘Browser Wars’ whereby Microsoft put, effectively put Netscape, eh out of business by giving away a competitor product for free using their, all their money to do that. They did much the same with Apple, although Apple hasn’t gone out of business and em, the people who are behind this virus I would suspect are people who, who, em, are promoting what is called Open Sof… Open, eh, eh, …. Open System Software whereby eh, you can em, eh, have competitors for the Microsoft products which, are essentially free.
DH: But would the attackers then eh, almost by definition be competitors?
WC: Em, no because, … these competitors, they don’t really exist as a company, although there are some companies such as openoffice.org and eh em, StarOffice and eh Lynux but em, Microsoft has essentially put all the _commercial_ competition either out of business or they’ve bought them up or whatever. Eh, em Open Source Software is developed by eh, volunteers and, anybody can go into a website, have a look at how the program is developing and throw in a suggestion and say you know, you should include my little …
WC: … my little suggestion.
DH: The experts say they’re going to move on Microsoft tomorrow. Eh, is this worm an expression of hatred of Microsoft?
WC: Absolutely, that’s exactly what it is. And, and also the reason this S-C-O company was targetted was because eh, if you go to a website such as openoffice.org you can …, you can download a free copy of what is a competitor for Microsoft Office. So an equivalent of Microsoft Word, an equivalent of Microsoft Excel which probably most of your listeners have on their computers.
DH: William, is their any protection against this?
WC: Em, eh, yes. Two things you can do. Number one, em, if you have Windows and you have Microsoft Office get the updated versions by connecting to the internet and, and go into the Microsoft website and downloading it, but if you have … that won’t protect you if you have the virus already and if you do the thing to do is, first of all do no harm so unplug your computer from the internet and plug it out of the network if you’re connected to a network and then use a different computer, maybe go to a, a, a, em, a web cafe to go to sophos.com who, who, which is an anti-virus company and you can download onto a floppy disk their, em, a free eh, eh, cleaning utility which will clean up your computer.
DH: Very good. William Campbell, director of BUA Training, computer expert, thank you for that. It’s ten minutes to eight….