Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Simson Garfinkel

A View from Simson Garfinkel

Worms, Worms, Everywhere

Tech Journalist Hiawatha Bray has written an interesting article about the MyDoom worm that is now making its way around the Internet. Like many people, I received a lot of e-mail as a result of this worm — more than…

  • January 27, 2004

Tech Journalist Hiawatha Bray has written an interesting article about the MyDoom worm that is now making its way around the Internet.

Like many people, I received a lot of e-mail as a result of this worm — more than 45 messages at last count. So I finally decided to do something about it.

On Saturday, I installed the program MIMEDefang on my FreeBSD mail server. MIMEDefang lets you run a perl script for every incoming message and make a decision — before the email is accepted by your mail server — if the message should be accepted or not. This is cool — it keeps the mail from ever invading your mail server in the first place.

First thing I did was set up MIMEDefang to automatically run SpamAssassin on every incoming e-mail message, and bounce those that it identifies as spam. That immediately cut down my spam load.

Next, I downloaded the Network Associates Virus Scan for FreeBSD. It’s available from the FreeBSD Ports collection. I just typed “make install” and —wham— it was installed. (Of course, I had to manually go to the NAI website and download the latest Virus definition files.)

So here’s where it gets interesting. MIMEDefang automatically noticed that VirusScan was installed and started using it!

Between 1:40am and 9:38am, 51 copies of the worm were blocked from my system.

So I know that the worms are getting really bad out there, but I probably won’t be writing about them much more. I’ve decided to opt-out of the worm culture.

(My editor was surprised that I wasn’t running anti-virus before this. Truth be told, I didn’t think that I needed it — I read most of my email on a mac. And there is a little check-box that I checked on the one Windows machine that I use to read email; the check-box said something like “don’t run worms.” I’m not really sure why other people don’t check that box, but they don’t.)

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

    Bimonthly digital/PDF edition

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special interest publications

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Ad-free web experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.