August 24, 2003
PORN IS A VIRUS....So how did the SoBig F virus spread so quickly? After all, everyone knows not to open unknown email attachments, right?
Maybe they do, but downloading unknown porn is a different matter altogether:
investigators have now tracked down the source of the virus, known as
SoBig F, to a porn website in Phoenix, Arizona. It was put on the net in
the guise of a photograph posted in an adult 'newsgroup', a forum where
users post messages and pictures. When people clicked to download the
picture their computers unwittingly became infected and spread the virus
which emailed copies of itself from their accounts.
has always been the soft underbelly of the internet. And just think of
the ammunition this is going to give to the Falwells and Robertsons of
the world. It's a hard sell these days to convince people that porn
inevitably leads to lechery and a dissolute life, but now they can say that porn leads to the destruction of the internet. Hallelujah!
Posted by Kevin Drum at August 24, 2003 11:27 AM
So pornography is a victimless crime, huh? Huh? Huh? Huh?
Of course, if porno wasn't vilified, people would be more apt to talk
about it openly. You (or I, I guess) would feel more free to gripe
about the inconveniences of porn surfing, if we didn't think we'd be
thought of as perverts.
In an age where herpes medicine is advertised on TV, shouldn't we be more open about our online sex lives? Such as they are?
Porn has always been the soft underbelly of the internet.
I beg to differ. The Internet is doing just fine.
It's just idiots (boths individuals & corporations) who suffer,
because they are either to cheap or to lazy to do something about
security or merely just learn about the issues.
Yes, there can be adverse effect due to increased traffic (or heaven
forbid, 100000 overtaken machines attacking core routers/DNS servers),
but due to lower bandwith availability the chokepoints are at the edges.
Then again, Porn has been and still is a driving force for
technology. What do you think is responsible for the upsurge in
bandwidth demands, broadband connections and OC-192 links?
Correct: It's alt.sex.binaries.hamster.duct-tape and it's brethren, coming in all sizes and shapes.
It's just like what happened with VHS home video.
I hate to be a stickler, but this isn't correct. Media files (ie,
pics and vids) can't give you a virus, tho on rare occasions they can
hold part of a virus. For a virus to happen it has to be something you
can run like an exe, com or w/ SoBig a PIF.
Think of it like a lock and key, w/o the proper key (program file) to
open the right lock (media file) nothing will happen, and this is a
very rare virus to have happen to you.
If you don't have any antivirus software installed there are several
good free ones, including the one listed below that you can run from
it's web page
P.S. I used to do work for an antivirus company, so I do have some experience on the topic.
Felix is right, it's social engineering to get you to open/spread the virus. SoBig, Anna K., "I love you" etc.
I agree with you, but presumably it's just the details that are
wrong. I imagine that the author sent out an executable with some
deceptive mesage that caused people to (perhaps unknowingly) run it.
Apparently enough people did.
Kenneth- PIF's are the carrier for Sobig, I actually didn't know you could run them under 2k/xp.
The point I should have made was that pc virii are alot like
bio-virii, going after pr0n is akin to leeches or bleeding as a way to
clean up virii and worms. It's a misdirection.
Ah, a pif. That's clever. It sounds like a graphic format, doesn't it? But it's actually an executable.
(I assumed the alleged porn must have actually been an executable, but the article didn't give any details.)
Felix: I have to disagree. PCs are made for ordinary people, and
expecting them to get up to speed on computer security is just
unreasonable. These are the same people who have trouble setting their
Technology has to be fitted to the capabilities of the proposed
users. If cars burst into flames every time you ran over a rock, would
you blame drivers for not understanding rock avoidance well enough? No.
You'd expect the car manufacturers to make their cars more reliable,
because running over rocks is just an ordinary part of life and only
trained experts can be expected to avoid them.
Same here, although obviously the issues are far more complex.
I got nailed by SoBig when I pressed the wrong key and ended up
running the damn PIF instead of deleting it. My kingdom for a sandbox.
Took me 8 hours (plus a mild, unrelated concussion) to get the damn
thing off my machine since I hadn't updated my AV software that day; I
only managed to defeat it (i.e. to dl an updated diagnostic tool,
identify the virus and remove it without letting it spread to everyone
in my addressbook) by carefully toggling the power to my modem... with
[I kid you not. Worked like a charm, too, though it took almost two
hours once I figured out the setup. Bless you, Opera, and your
I would be a little wary about that "no viruses in video files",
though. WMVs, at least, can contain hooks that launch you to a given
URL; I'm not sure, but I think it might be possible to jury-rig that
capability to launch some kind of executable. Wiser -- or at least,
more corrupt -- heads than I will doubtless figure out whether that's
Resumable downloads!? No kidding.
Anarch-Damn, that sounded ugly, and painful (how's the head?). Your
right, I forgot about WMV's, showing once again that security is never
on their bloody minds when they do this stuff!!! Why does MS
intentionally shoot themselves in the foot by building in the exploit
whenever they can?
No wonder that their huge, illegal music servers use mp3's instead. They really do have the biggest collection I've ever seen.
I was wrong Kevin, your pr0n virus will be around shortly.
Felix is right, though, pornography (along with video games) is the
big engine that drives technological development in computing. When new
technologies are in their infancy, it's the porn downloaders who are
willing to suffer through the glitches to get their fix. E-business
owes a debt to pornography for pioneering the means for online payments
for online services, for example. If beer built civilization, porn built
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