An Open Letter to Virus Authors

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 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 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.