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The Swen computer worm is turning out to be a bigger problem than previously expected, using a brief head start on computer antivirus defenses, as well as complex abilities and an effective masquerade, to infect Windows machines and spread via e-mail to many users. The worm, also known as "Gibe" or its more technical name of "w32.swen@mm," takes advantage of a well-known vulnerability in Internet Explorer that was first announced in March 2001.
Seems to me that most worms can be avoided by following a few simple rules:
1) Don't open attachments. Make sure your settings prevent your e-mail client from opening attachments and, in some cases, from displaying pictures.
2) Keep your anti-virus software up to date.
3) Avoid use of mainstream programs such as Internet Explorer/Outlook/Outlook Express for Internet/e-mail access. Or, if you must use them, be careful and check all your settings.
My network consists of Windows 98/2000, Linux, OpenBSD, and Mac OS. To date I have received four e-mails containing the SWEN worm attachment - yet the network remains unaffected mostly because I adhere to and enforce basic security rules.
I realize that this this will not stop the spread of worms/virii completely, but it should slow down the sperad. Unfortunately, most people are too willing to sacrifice security for the sake of convenience.
So here we go again. Even though the IE vulnerability has been well known for almost 30 months, Microsoft's policy of not fixing foundation-level vulnerabilities and buggy code, insecurities, and the failed design model, coupled with the hegemonic marketing practices that push consumers into buying a Microsoft product because to choose other OS's is so difficult at point of computer purchase, has resulted in yet another deluge of Microsoft-spawned garbage. I am so tired of getting this Swen email spoof that just clogs up my POP3 account, wastes download time and slows down general services, because oftentimes these messages carry attachments which have to be downloaded too.
I think it is time that the computer-using public band together to initiate a class-action suit against Microsoft for gross irresponsibility coupled with commercial promiscuity that simply spread the problem to more and more users. How can anyone ever trust this company for "secure" computing - it's idea of secure computing is to lock everything down with royalty-based schemes based on so-called intellectual property rights.
I am currently exploring dumping Microsoft products in my company and at my home. Enough is enough - time to give Mac or Linux a chance methinks. Bill Gates has had enough of my money and that of the shareholders who invest in my company and these problems have become a repetitive pattern and we are tired of it. Time for a change, even if it does mean that the staff's learning curve will be steep initially. That will at least be a worthwhile investment of time and effort if it means secure and stable computing.
While I seriously advocate the use of open source solutions and have had a hate on for MS for the longest time, the world is not going to change too soon. I started using Linux full time after spending 6 months arguing with MS tech support. I was told by MS that Windows 98 is not an Operating System, it is an Operating Environment. I'd have to sensor my response, but I told them that whatever they want to call it, it wasn't operating. I have not purchased any MS products since - save for 2000 which came OEM on a system I bought a couple years back.
I keep 98 & 2000 on my network as a necessary evil. The vast majority of users (including my clients) still cling to MS Products. Sometimes it feels like a losing battle, but we must plug on ahead.
This is not bashing MS, simply stating that in my experience the majority of stuff done on Windows can be done on other OS at a fraction of the cost. I think people have just become used to rebooting every other hour.
I'm not certain that a class action suit would accomplish much either. How many people out there read the license agreement, not just the part that says, "I AGREE"? While MS marketing actions are, imo, detestable and completely lacking in ethics, there is now enough of a choice out there where you DON'T have to use Windows.
What I think is that the other manufacturers should consider porting their products to run on Linux/Unix/Mac OS. And offer free packages to people who want to port their current copy. This would give a greater advantage to the Other OS out there and would expand the market for the current companies.
But then again, maybe this is just one guy's opinion.
You know... You could just set up a filter so that you can only receive mail from people you know... You could also require digital signatures attached to the messages you receive... These two measures would solve all spam and worm-related problems... But no... Just go ahead with Microsoft bashing... You're aware that, if some other company with a different operating system would dominate the market, things would be the same, right?
I have no problems in my PC since I have implemented safeguards against SWEN and others.
However, what i'm having a problem is that ever since that worm got out, 99% of the emails that I receive are the mass mailed product of that worm and i'm losing so much productivity sifting thru the emails.
Is there a way to fix that at the ISP level where the pop server resides?
You should see me --- I get 200+ e-mails DAILY with worm infections, my POP3 account get blocked if I don't download e-mail every 3 hours, and since most of it contains attachments, it takes forever to download -- let alone the fact that i'm connecting via cellphone when I'm on the road (most of the time), makes it both expensive and tedious and sloooowww... i'm so tired it this, it has been over 2 weeks and nothing seems to be happening. I've checked my computer for the virus and I seem to be clean, yet still getting the e-mails. My ISP is doing nothing and they say the can't do nothing. This is soooo frustrating.
Any idea how can I avoid getting so many junk?!?!??!?!
Unfortunately ISP level filtering has been made more difficult since VeriSign introduced their SiteFinder "service" by adding a wildcard to the .com and .net TLDs; it's now no longer possible to filter mail by discarding stuff from hosts that do not resolve -- EVERYTHING now resolves! This worm appeared at a convenient time -- if I were of a suspicious or paranoid nature, I'd be tempted to dream up a conspiracy theory about it...