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Week of September 6, 2003

The 'world' continues to be hit by Microsoft Outlook worms. Ganda recently in the Nordic countries, now Palyh and Petik. The method is the same - and they all work, which is absolutely amazing.

But there may be something missing, for human beings are normally at least somewhat intelligent, aren't they? Consider for a moment all the insurmountable obstacles a worm has to overcome to be able to spread:

  1. The victim has to be running Microsoft Windows. Right here you see the greatest hurdle of all, and truly it's a wonder worms can spread, for no one in their right mind would be running Microsoft Windows anymore, right?

  2. The victim has to be running Microsoft Outlook or Microsoft Outlook Express. If the worm can make it past the first hurdle, this one remains - and again, you would think people would be smarter. After all, these two mail clients are notorious world-wide for being the by far best breeding grounds for anything contagious.

  3. The victim has to have a whole slew of idiotic Java, Javascript, ActiveX, VeeBee, and Web Scripting 'features' turned on. But again: Everyone knows these things are dangerous, especially on the Windows platform, don't they? And that's just for surfing the web - Everyone has been advising against their use in mail clients for ages, haven't they?

  4. The victim has to be downright stupid to even get and open the message. Subject lines like 'Anna Kournikova Naked' or the legendary 'ILOVEYOU' are so blatantly obvious, so again you would think people would know better.

If a worm can make it through the four above hoops, it will spread. On the surface it looks impossible - really, who could be as stupid as all that?

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