I read a few days ago that another variation on the old and familiar “address book attack” viruses was appearing in the wild. The defenses for these viruses have been available for a long time.
Have we learned the lesson?
Apparently not.
For the last few days, the detritus of the successful attacks of this virus has been showing up in my email inbox, primarily in the form of bounced messages from email servers that are rejecting virus-laden emails resulting from spoofed versions of my email address and virus-laden messages because my email address in the address book of someone who has been infected.
During the last few of these attacks, the auto-generation of bounce messages and the reaction of spam filters vastly increased the amount of traffic on the Internet. Network administrators still haven’t gotten the message that the “cure” only makes the problem worse.
If you are wondering why you haven’t gotten a response to an important email, you will need to be concerned about the impact of this attack/counter-attack strategy and the unfortunately growing likelihood that your email is now being treated as spam, through no fault of your own, and being blocked by spam filters.
Welcome back to another period when we have to call people to make sure that they got our email messages.
While I enjoy observing the scientific phenomenon, I’d prefer that you take at least the minimal precautions necessary to prevent the effects of this type of “old-time” virus. However, don’t do it just for me; do it as part of your basic responsibilities and obligations as a member of the Internet community. When the day comes that the Internet actually goes down, my guess is that this kind of automatic response/feedback looping will be a primary cause.