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Week of July 31, 2001

It's here! The worm the whole world has feared! Run for cover! Code Red is coming! If you run an IIS web server, turn off your machine and burn it - do it now!

Exploiting a YAGH ('Yet Another Gaping Hole') in Microsoft IIS which has been well known for ages but in typical lame fashion has never been patched, the Code Red worm has spread to what CERT guesstimates is close to 300,000 servers worldwide. And it's an insidious bugger: the one day it infects other computers in its neighbourhood; the next day it rounds 'em all up for an attack on whitehouse.gov.

This worm is so fantastic it can out-think its hunters. Embossed with a true cruelty and an ability to morph itself at will, Code Red checks its backside regularly, analyses the substance of the threat to its existence, and then changes perhaps one single byte of itself and totally evades its pursuers.

This is one damned smart program - if you are to believe the Keystone Kops at the NIPC and the headline gluttons that is. For never before have the myths about what computers and computer programs can do been exploited so systematically.

There is evidence that the NIPC, its back now to the wall in Washington DC, is fighting for its own existence, and that bringing on a total scare might cajole lawmakers there to give them more money for better shoes for the feet they so diligently keep shooting holes in.

And whether Code Red brings down the World of Microsoft as we would prefer not to know it or not is hardly the issue. What a frikkin computer program can do is.

And with all the anti-virus experts out there supposedly taking their oh so valuable time to investigate the disassembly of the code, you would think they would be in agreement as to what this worm can do. Yet these experts have been in profound disagreement from the very beginning.

Leading one to an unavoidable conclusion: that at least some of these 'experts' are wrong and don't have the foggiest what they are talking about but go out into the media anyway.

And then it started mutating. Perhaps Jeff Goldblum's Mac was found in a distant galaxy (he might have thrown it out the window when Will Smith was in a panic to get out of the mothership) and the meanie aliens re-programmed it to devastate the planet earth and certain US govt agencies and media sluts in particular.

No doubt the surviving relatives of those locust critters were pissed as hell that a Steve Jobs machine had outwitted them, but figured Jobs was a bit too smart and Gates was the more obvious sucker for a real bout of revenge.

The code mutates so quickly because hyper-intelligent aliens like these ugly bugs don't even need to use keyboards, so there's no delays for syntax errors and stuff on compiles. They just mutter a bunch of gibberish and their centuries-old voice activated sub-atomic positron-fed recursive obfuscation engines translate it all into Intel x86 code for them - making Code Red unstoppable and Code-a-Reddon imminent.

Let's find out where all those Y2K survivalists are hanging out and join them before the world (and the Internet) expires through ultra-hypothermia.

Who could have believed it - the Dark Avenger gets the last laugh after all.

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