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Note: This document dates from March 1999. It was my response to concerns about the Melissa Microsoft Word Macro Virus.
There are many email virus hoaxes. There are some real email viruses
travelling in Word (and Excel) documents. At the end of March 1999,
a Word email virus called "Melissa" is circulating. It's not too bad,
but it does email itself and your documents to people you know. More
Hoaxes and real email viruses
Normally, I warn people that email viruses are not really a problem,
and that there are a lot of fake warning messages floating around.
There is currently (30/3/99) a real email virus which is spreading
quite fast. It doesn't really interfere with your machine too much, but
it does send email copies of itself to people in your address book. As
with all these kind of viruses, it will only be activated when you
read a Word document. It's a "Word Macro Virus".
The Melissa Virus
Melissa travels in emails with the title "Important Message From [name
of infected user]" - though it is easy for someone to change this to
something else. To quote from "Data Fellows"...
"...Most recipients are likely to open such a file, as it usually comes from
someone they know.
After sending itself out, the virus continues to infect other Word documents.
Eventually, these files can end up being mailed to other users as well. This
can be potentially disastrous, as a user might inadvertently send out
confidential data to outsiders.
The virus activates if it is executed when the minutes of the hour match the
day of the month - for example 18:27 on the 27th day of a month. At this
time the virus will insert the following phrase into the current document
which the user has open in Word: "Twenty-two points, plus
triple-word-score, plus fifty points for using all my letters. Game's over.
I'm outta here". This text, as well as the alias name of the virus author,
"Kwyjibo", are references to the popular "Simpsons" cartoon TV series. "
What to do
How to avoid this email message becoming a highly circulated warning:
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