So what will happen
Feb. 3?"> And I did get one big caveat from an analyst I respect. Ken Dunham, director of malicious code for iDefense Inc., reminded me that the availability of the backdoor in both opens some possibilities that are difficult to predict. There could be some unknown capability being introduced through it, and perhaps we just still recognize the mutated infection as a simple MyDoom.A. Its possible, but its also been many days now that experts have had these viruses in their possession and they have been analyzing many honeypot systems. If there were something more going on, I think wed know about it by now. Perhaps theres some important technical flaw in the worm and the companies dont want to discuss it publicly. So on Feb. 3, when the B virus launches its planned DDOS attack on www.sco.com and www.microsoft.com, will the world end? It appears that Microsoft has very little to fear. There arent enough infected systems out there to raise a stink, and theres no reason to believe there will be any disruption of service. As for www.sco.com, its already temporarily out to pasture from the MyDoom.A attack, and MyDoom.B wouldnt have changed things much.As Netcraft observes in its analysis, Microsoft could be taking defensive measures as it has done in the past, such as giving Akamai or some other content distribution network the front-end duties for serving microsoft.com. The company has not done so. www.microsoft.com still points to a series of Windows servers on IP addresses owned by Microsoft. I guess Microsoft doesnt see all that big a threat either. Isnt it interesting that these mass-distribution virus authors usually make some important technical error? The reason, in a very general sense, could be that its not easy to write quality software that can run on a wide variety of systems, even if they are all just different versions of Windows. This is one of the reasons companies have beta tests and hire independent testing firms. Alas, virus writers have a problem in arranging beta tests, and even to the extent that the A variant is a beta for the B and C variants, they dont get all the feedback they would want. Heres to non-standardization! Security Center Editor Larry Seltzer has worked in and written about the computer industry since 1983. Be sure to check out eWEEK.coms Security Center at http://security.eweek.com for the latest security news, views and analysis.
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The small number of systems with the infection made me consider the possibility tracing the worm back to the author. If there really are just a few out there, perhaps careful forensic examination of them can identify the initial seeding of the virus and even the source of the initial seeding. I asked Chris Belthoff, senior security analyst at anti-virus company Sophos, who said thatsadlyit doesnt work this way. There are thousands of lesser viruses that dont spread beyond a few systems, and the authors of these typically dont get caught. I guess youd have to make a stupid mistake.