Glossary of terms

A glossary of security and virus terms.

Virus generation tool kit: Software available on the internet that allows low-skilled wannabe virus writers to create viruses. One of these tool kits, called Visual Basic Script Worm Generator, was used to create the recent Anna Kournikova virus.

Secure Sockets Layer: SSL consists of a set of cryptographic protocols that use public-key technology to authenticate the site you are visiting and encrypt the data stream to keep the data transmitted confidential and unmodified.

Morris worm: A program written by Robert Morris Jr, a student at Cornell University in New York, that spread across the internet in November 1988 and crippled large parts of it.

Melissa virus: This launches itself when a user opens an infected Microsoft Word 8 or Word 9 document. It prompts Microsoft’s Outlook email program to send an infected document to the first 50 addresses in a victim’s address book.

Love Bug: A Visual Basic script worm sent as an email attachment. The message’s subject contains “I Love You.” It propagates itself to all addresses in a victim’s address book.

Interesting sites: Dublin-based Hush Communications is a web mail company that takes security seriously — perhaps even a little too seriously. It’s for paranoid people. Can’t tell your from your Love Bug?, Rob Rosenberger’s virus myths home page, will help you separate fact from fiction.

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