January 28, 2004

MyDoom: the blame game

Author: Joe Barr

Bill Husted reports on ajc.com (the Atlanta Journal-Constitution online), that the MyDoom worm is now thought to be the work of professional spammers rather than simply an attack on The SCO Group by unhappy Linux users as reported by CNN and others yesterday. MyDoom is now seen as the biggest and fastest growing viral infection of Windows computers of all time.

Citing security experts from ISS (based in Atlanta) and elsewhere, Husted reports that the real goal of MyDoom now appears to be to acquire new "slave machines" to use for sending spam.

The attack on SCO Group, one of several suffered by the firm over the past year, prompted the company to offer a $250,000 reward for "information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual or individuals responsible for creating the MYDOOM virus." In a statement about the reward, SCO CEO Darl McBride stopped short of saying it was the Linux community, but noted "we have our suspicions."

Linux advocate and luminary Bruce Perens put out a plea to the Linux/free software community yesterday not to gloat or rejoice in the attack on SCO, saying that "it is likely that this virus has been assembled for the purpose of defaming the Linux developers by spammers, SCO, or others. Your behavior will influence whether or not it succeeds in this mission."

According to a statement this morning by MessageLabs, the MyDoom worm spread from Russia to the rest of the planet. This news, of course, has led to fresh rounds of speculation about the involvement of the Russian Mafia with the spammers now suspected of having created the worm.

SCO may be doing something worthwhile with its offer of a reward, after all, although I suspect the money was offered with something different in mind.

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