Forwarded from: Richard Caasi <caasi@private> http://www.dailypennsylvanian.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2003/09/25/3f7294af5eee7 By Mer Eckstut September 25, 2003 According to one of the College's official listservs, Penn's ranking is dropping to 249 -- and University President Judith Rodin doesn't care. And Mr. T still pities the fool. These were just two of the messages that flooded inboxes across campus stemming from a virus outbreak that started Tuesday afternoon and lasted until the wee hours yesterday morning. The W32.Mimail.Amm worm was sent out to students on the college-fyi-out listserv, a tool administrators use to communicate with College of Arts and Sciences students, Tuesday afternoon at approximately 2:41 p.m. "It doesn't do a lot of damage," Information Security and Computing official Steve Strawser said. Mimail is a mass-mailing worm that hunts through a user's address book and randomly selects addresses. These addresses are then sent forged messages, which leads recipients to believe they are getting mail from their server's administrator. The occurrence of this worm was almost immediately followed by a college listserv malfunction. "It just kept coming and coming and coming," College junior Anne McGuire said, referring to the hordes of e-mails she received. Party announcements were sent out -- as were fictional news stories and e-mails insulting posters trying to get off the listserv. Dozens of e-mails from students asking to be removed from the college-fyi-out listserv were broadcast to the entire community, which spurred more people to request removal -- making the problem worse. While the listserv is usually restricted to posts from College administration, the worm found an internal address that had posting privileges, according to John Yates, information technology senior director at SAS Computing. By having the address with posting privileges in the original Mimail e-mail headers, any student who replied to the e-mail broadcast the message to the entire group, he explained. "I thought the whole thing was kind of funny," said College senior Denny Watson, who sent out several humorous e-mails. "It was a relaxer for the University." Ira Winston, IT executive director at SAS Computing, said that computing officials were alerted to the problem late Tuesday night, when the increased network traffic prompted the staff to be contacted at home. At approximately 4 a.m. yesterday morning, the flaw was fixed and students no longer had posting rights to the listserv, he explained. No final figures concerning the exact numbers of servers and users affected were available by press time. Yates estimated that there were over 100 student replies posted, and that over 95 of them occurred after midnight Wednesday morning. The fiasco prompted a wide range of student reactions. "At first I didn't realize what it was," College sophomore Robert Tennenbaum said. "I thought it was annoying," he added. - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomo@private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
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