Saturday , August 13, 2022

MyDoom Hardly Makes a Dent in Web Performance

MyDoom, characterized by many experts as one of the most virulent viruses ever to hit the Internet, has had only a slight impact on Web transaction speed and page availability, according to Keynote Systems Inc., a San Mateo, Calif., company that measures Web site performance. Keynote analysts credit the nature of the virus?it depends on action by unwary computer users to spread, rather than propagating itself automatically, as some bugs have done?in part for the fact that the Internet withstood the flood of e-mails it unleashed without suffering significant slowdowns. “People are a lot slower than computers,” says Lloyd Taylor, vice president of technology at Keynote. He estimates the virus caused an Internet performance slowdown of 8% to 10%. “Anything less than 10% is unnoticeable to the typical user,” he notes. Certainly, though, the virus spread fast enough to catch plenty of attention. MyDoom emerged on Monday and soon had network-security experts deeply concerned. By Tuesday, it had infected 400,000 computers around the world, according to Central Command Inc., an anti-virus company in Medina, Ohio. MyDoom arrived as an attachment to e-mails containing what appeared to be innocuous technical messages. Once recipients launched the virus by opening the attachments, MyDoom used the Microsoft Outlook address books on the infected computers to spread itself to yet more machines. It and a variant that emerged later also carry programming that is supposed to launch Sunday an e-mail attack on Lindon, Utah-based SCO Group Inc., a software company, and on Microsoft itself in an attempt to shut down the Web sites of those companies. SCO has aroused the ire of some in the computer community because of its campaign to claim copyright to the popular Linux operating system. Keynote's Taylor warns the e-mail blitz may strain the Internet far more than what MyDoom has done so far. The attention it is getting also masks what many experts now see as the probable real reason for the MyDoom attack: to install programming that hijacks infected computers, allowing the sender to control the machines and potentially glean sensitive data stored on them. Says Taylor: “The payload on Sunday is a red herring.”

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