An Open Letter to Virus Authors

By David Coursey  |  Posted 2004-08-12 Print this article Print

David Coursey asks virus authors that if they are going to create viruses to at least not insult his intelligence, and issues a plea—and a warning—to the amateur hackers.

Its bad enough that the humans—if you can call them that—who create viruses and malware are trying to turn our desktops into instruments of their global evildoing. But do they also have to insult our intelligence? Heres a sample of the e-mails Ive been getting over the past few days, dozens of them in several flavors, all with a 98-byte Zip file, all from people who supposedly exist in my domain, all trying to take advantage of anyone uninformed/gullible/stupid enough to try opening the attachment. You may be getting them as well. :: Automatically Secure Delivery: for
    For security measures this message has been packed as Zip format. This is a newly added security feature.
    This message is an automatically server notice from Administration
Heres another: :: Secure Mail Server Notification: for This message is available as a secure Zip file format due to a new security policy. Automatically server notice:, Server reply from
This column is an open letter to the community of people who create viruses, hoping they can improve the quality of their work. Its not that I want better viruses and malware, as I am sure that will happen with no encouragement from me. I am not sure what bugs me most: that these clowns think they can spoof people with nonsense like this or that they manage to get away with it. Dont criminals owe it to their intended victims not to insult their intelligence while trying to take over their computers? But shouldnt users also have enough sense not to open the files attached to this garbage? A 98-byte Zip file "for security reasons"? I wish it were possible to respond with a "Nice try!" and have these messages stop. Instead, they manage to sneak through the anti-spam defense I am using, meaning I must delete them one by one. But before I can delete such a message, it opens in the reading pane, so I must stare at these messages again and again. Or turn off the reading pane, but that just adds to how long it takes to get rid of the messages. Next Page: Amateur hackers: Consider yourselves warned.

One of technology's most recognized bylines, David Coursey is Special Correspondent for, where he writes a daily Blog ( and twice-weekly column. He is also Editor/Publisher of the Technology Insights newsletter and President of DCC, Inc., a professional services and consulting firm.

Former Executive Editor of ZDNet AnchorDesk, Coursey has also been Executive Producer of a number of industry conferences, including DEMO, Showcase, and Digital Living Room. Coursey's columns have been quoted by both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and he has appeared on ABC News Nightline, CNN, CBS News, and other broadcasts as an expert on computing and the Internet. He has also written for InfoWorld, USA Today, PC World, Computerworld, and a number of other publications. His Web site is

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel