My favourite press release of the week

After yesterday’s horrendous Honda press release, today I thought I’d post my favourite of the week. Top marks to Saxon Shirley at Spectrum Communications for originality! (Also for getting mention of a lapdancer into a techy media release). See below…

Melissa Turns Ten

Thursday 26th March marks the 10 year anniversary of the notorious Melissa virus – the very first notable email-aware virus.

Allegedly named after a lap dancer which creator David L. Smith met in Florida, the Melissa virus sent an infected email entitled “Here is that document you asked for … don’t show anyone else;-)” via Microsoft Outlook to the first 50 email addresses on the victims’ mailing list, and spread so quickly that it overloaded email servers across the globe.

Despite not causing irreparable damage, the virus is widely credited with laying the foundations for the devastating use of botnets that has since allowed cyber criminals to spread malware so rapidly and economically. Since intercepting the virus in March 1999, MessageLabs, now part of Symantec, has stopped 108 different strains and more than 100,000 copies of the virus. Even today, Melissa is a permanent feature on the threat landscape with MessageLabs services still intercepting on average ten copies a month.

“Melissa was the virus equivalent of the supermodels from the 90s, known by one name and iconic within the industry,” said Alex Shipp, Senior Director, Emerging Anti-malware Technologies for MessageLabs services. This was the first attack of this magnitude and I remember that when the numbers reached the hundreds within the first hour of stopping Melissa, which were significant levels in 1999, we knew the threat landscape had changed evermore.”

Interviews available upon request if you are interested.

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