Dear Windows-Help.NET Subscriber,
You probably heard about it by now... a new worm has taken over the crown of "most damaging & fastest spreading" from Melissa: the LoveLetter Worm.
"This worm spreads at an amazing speed", comments Mikko Hypponen, Manager of Anti-Virus Research at F-Secure Corporation. "We got the first report around 9:00 a.m. on Thursday from Norway, and by 1 p.m. we had reports from over 20 countries. We estimate that total number of infected machines is already in tens of thousands."
The LoveLetter worm activates by overwriting picture and music files from the local and network drives. Files with extension JPG, JPEG, MP3 and MP2 are overwritten and will have to be restored from backups.
The worm arrives to users in e-mail message attachments called LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.TXT.vbs. On a default Windows system, the .vbs extension is not visible, and users might mistake the file for a harmless text file (.TXT). If the recipient opens the attachment, the worm will use Microsoft Outlook (if installed) to send a message to everyone in any address books (including global access books of the organization these typically contains hundreds or thousands of addresses). It spreads itself using mIRC client as well.
More information about this worm can be found on our Web site.
Like with all other "famous" viruses, the original Love Letter E-mail worm is being copied by others, and already 5 different versions have been spotted "in the wild". The most cunning variant sends e-mails which appear to be a confirmation of an electronic gift order for Mother's Day.
More information about these can also be found on our Web site.
US Government proposes Microsoft Breakup
Last week, the US government and the 19 states, allied in an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft, released their joint remedy proposal, asking the judge to break up the company. Under the terms of the plan, Microsoft would be split into two companies, one that would sell the Windows OS and the other that would sell Microsoft's remaining products, primarily Office and other applications.
The OS and applications companies would be restricted from working together or recombining for 10 years, and their assets would be nontransferable between companies.
One of the most interesting parts of the remedy proposal addresses product bundling. According to the proposal, Microsoft would be
restricted from bundling "middleware" (where "middleware" is defined as "Internet browsers, email client software, multimedia viewing software, Office, and the Java Virtual Machine" but not "disk compression or memory management") with its Operating Systems unless the company also offered an identical version of that OS from which PC makers and end users could easily remove all bundled products. Windows versions that excluded these bundled products would carry a lower-cost license.
As expected, Microsoft reacted angrily to the proposal. "Breaking up Microsoft into separate companies is not in the interest of consumers and is not supported by anything in the lawsuit," said Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman and chief software architect. "Microsoft never could have created Windows and Office if they were in separate companies. Innovations that began within Office have quickly been incorporated into Windows so they are available to every applications developer. Dismantling Microsoft would hurt the company's ability to continue to innovate, and that would hurt consumers. It's anti-consumer to tear apart the development teams that created two of the most innovative technology products and that have helped to revolutionize productivity. Microsoft has a proven track record of delivering consumer value as a single company."
You can read the full text of Microsoft's reaction on the Microsoft Trial News Web page, or view Bill Gates reaction on Video (Reguires Windows Media Player).
Microsoft will file its response to the government's proposal on May 10.
S P O N S O R
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