back to article Melissa anniversary marks birth of email-aware malware

Thursday (26 March) marks the 10th anniversary of the notorious Melissa virus, the first successful email-aware virus. The Word macro virus, allegedly named after a lap dancer that creator David L. Smith met in Florida, spread via infected Word documents. Windows users who opened the Word document on unprotected systems became …


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  1. Onionman

    "Smith had turned rat "

    Oh, for heaven's sake; it's language like that that portrays people who turn in criminals in a bad light. Leave that kind of language to the wrongdoers, please.

    How about "Smith had been persuaded that his best interests lay in helping law enforcement to catch other criminals". Not as catchy, but closer to the truth.

    Sodding journos, eh?


  2. Cameron Colley

    Talking of VXers...

    ...anyone know what happened to the girl who called herself gigabyte?

  3. Outcast

    My daughter

    Got no end of grief when this virus got out.

    No prizes for guessing her name !!

    (She uses Ubuntu now)

  4. Tim Weigel

    That takes me back

    I worked on a corporate helpdesk at HP when Melissa first hit. Inbound calls to us nearly overwhelmed the Avaya switch - we shared lines with other desks in the facility, but ours had by far the largest user base. The telecom folks reconsidered their 'worst case' allocation plans after that one.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The next time you visit your proctologist, you might want to have him try to find the stick.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remind me....

    ... who's application and operating system did this affect?

    And what has changed since then?

  7. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Will Cluley call for the arrest of the person..

    who wrote the WinWord.Concept virus?

    That was the first Word Macro virus, and ushered in the huge expansion of viruses into high-level languages, being writen in Word Macros.

    It appeared in 1995, shortly after W95 release, and shortly after the AV community had been bombarding Microsoft with calls to make their macro language less easy to write malicious code in. Microsoft ignored all their calls, but shortly afterwards I understand that this 'test' virus was found to be spread all over internal Microsoft offices, and thence into the world.

    Everyone assumed that Microsoft had been experimenting, but no one dared say anything....

  8. Graham Cluley

    Regarding Gigabyte

    Re: Cameron Colley's question about Gigabyte, the notorious female virus writer (real name Kim Vanvaeck)

    She got arrested in Belgium in 2004 ( ) but ultimately was let off the hook by the cops with little more than a smacked wrist and a promise not to cause trouble again. As far as I know she followed their advice

    I know a guy who met Gigabyte, and told me she was a rather cute-looking blonde. Bizarrely I was once invited to a security conference to sing a karaoke duet with her, but probably wisely turned down the opportunity..

  9. Allan Dyer Silver badge

    @Graham Cluley

    No karaoke? Where's your sense of adventure?

  10. Frank

    @David Wiernicki re. @Onionman

    Or the onion for that matter.

  11. Charles Calthrop

    The Love Bug, Best virus ever

    I've still got an old I love you.vbs t-shirt from NTK. Anyway, the lovebug was my favourite one, a really good trick in social engineering getting an email from my boss proclaming love.

    They were more innocent times really.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Re : Outcast

    >Got no end of grief when this virus got out.


    >No prizes for guessing her name !!


    >(She uses Ubuntu now)

    Your daughter calls herself Ubuntu does she? Bet she _REALLY_ get the sh!t ripped outta her now.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wrong Doers?

    Whose rules? You nark on someone you are a rat and not to be trusted by other people.

    You have a grievance with someone you do it face to face, mono on mono. Those are honour rules, and served feudal Japan very well, it was only under unification did they get nuked.

  14. Nigel

    I blame Microsoft.

    And whose stupid idea was it, to make it possible to embed arbitrary code in a Word document? Step forward the real villain of the piece, Microsoft, yet again.

    If a doc file were incapable of anything other than causing representations of pages to be generated on screens, printers and equivalent interfaces, we'd have been spared a huge lot of trouble.

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