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Truth About Computer Security Hysteria

Nextel's virus soap opera v2.0

Rob Rosenberger, Vmyths co-founder
Wednesday, 24 May 2000 REMEMBER NEXTEL'S VIRUS soap opera? Perhaps you wonder if they dealt with ILoveYou like the actors in their video. Well, wonder no more! A Nextel employee wrote me to say:
Did Nextel deal with ILoveYou like the actors in their soap opera? Nope! Virus fighters mosey'd into work at 10:30am and fired off an email notice to everyone in the firm.
Waitaminit. Nextel's virus fighters sent everyone an email? ILoveYou does exactly the same thing...
We got a big kick out of [the soap opera] because most of our handset 'direct connect' traffic is culinary based:
{bleep} "Uh, you had lunch yet?"
{bleep} "No. Want to do the salad bar?"
{bleep} "Forget salad. Marketing's treating us to Ruby Tuesdays. Can you give me a ride?"
Not too long after you published that link, we did have a real viral emergency: ILOVEYOU. Did the direct connect help us? No. You see, another important facet of network security is having admins that arrive for work before 11:00 am. Those of us with user privileges could only watch in horror and frustration as our servers ground to a halt and finally died. Of course AFTER the servers were back online we got the company-wide broadcast email from Information Services (they came in around 10:30 am) warning us not to open a certain email. ...The majority of people who opened [ILoveYou] at Nextel were in fact developers. Java dev, VB dev, Web dev, Unix dev. All of them opened it. So much for the stereotype of the dimwitted secretary bringing down the entire company with a single email attachment. No, the young, single, male code-jockeys saw "ILOVEYOU" and opened it up. Maybe if they had bothered to look at the sender (usually the guy sitting next to them) things wouldn't have crashed.
Waitaminit. Nextel's virus fighters sent everyone an email? ILoveYou does exactly the same thing. Ha! Speaking of soap opera videos... I made an eleven minute video (20MB) just for users. I repeat: just for users. Don't show it to computer security experts.