Melissa (computer virus)
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|Author(s)||David L. Smith|
|Operating system(s) affected||Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP|
The Melissa virus was a mass-mailing macro virus released on or around March 26, 1999. As it was not a standalone program, it was not classified as a worm. It targeted Microsoft Word and Outlook-based systems, and created considerable network traffic. The virus would infect computers via Email, the email being titled "Important Message From", followed by the current username. Upon clicking the message, the body would read: "Here's that document you asked for. Don't show anyone else ;)." Attached was a Word document titled list.doc containing a list of pornographic sites and accompanying logins for each. It would then mass mail itself to the first 50 people in the user's contact list and then disable multiple safeguard features on Microsoft Word and Microsoft Outlook.
The virus was released on March 26, 1999, by David L. Smith. The virus itself was credited to Kwyjibo, who was shown to be the macrovirus writers VicodinES and ALT-F11 by comparing Microsoft Word documents with the same globally unique identifier — this method was also used to trace the virus back to Smith.
On April 1, 1999, Smith was arrested in New Jersey as a result of a collaborative effort involving the FBI, the New Jersey State Police, Monmouth Internet, a Swedish computer scientist, and others; he was accused of causing $80 million worth of damages by disrupting personal computers and computer networks in business and government.
On December 10, 1999, Smith pleaded guilty to releasing the virus.
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- "W97M.Melissa.A". Symantec. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- Poulson. "Justice mysteriously delayed for 'Melissa' author".
- Tracking Melissa's alter egos, ZDNet, 1999-04-02
- "Melissa virus creator pleads guilty". BBC. 1999-12-09.
- "Creator of Melissa Computer Virus Sentenced to 20 Months in Federal Prison" (Press release). U.S. Department of Justice. 2002-05-01. Retrieved 2006-08-30.
- "Press Release: Creator of Melissa Computer Virus Sentenced to 20 Months in Federal Prison (May 1, 2002)". www.justice.gov. Retrieved 2020-01-05.