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Morris Worm Turning 20

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the malware-what-is-that dept.

Security 84

netbuzz writes "The Internet will mark an infamous anniversary Sunday, when the Morris worm turns 20. Considered the first major attack on the 'Net, Morris served as a wake-up call about the risk of software bugs, and it set the stage for network security to become an important area of computer science. It was also the first time many non-techies heard of the 'Net, as the mainstream media covered the story extensively." Reader maximus1 contributes a brief ITWorld story about Robert Morris himself.

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first worm! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25587329)

oh for the love of god, here's some text

Re:first worm! (1)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#25592577)

So this means we can expect to see "Morris Worm Turns 20 Tomorrow" on Saturday and "Happy Birthday, Morris Worm" on Sunday?

We should be celebrating! (0)

Troll14 (1395683) | more than 5 years ago | (#25587355)

Hey, these hiccups help make the internet a better and safer place!...Right?

Re:We should be celebrating! (1, Offtopic)

astrodoom (1396409) | more than 5 years ago | (#25587523)

*watches hurricane Katrine footage* Hey, these hiccups help make the floodplanes a better and safer place!...Right?

Re:We should be celebrating! (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#25587755)

Not to sound insensitive, but Hurricane Katrina did highlight just how abysmally poor the state of the US disaster preparedness was. From my (somewhat partial) perspective, it further underscored the foolishness of spending enormous sums on "national security" beefing up protection against some vacuous terrorist threat when things like hurricanes, earthquakes, automobile accidents and tobacco cause more deaths each every month than have died in terror attacks in the last decade in total.

In other words, I disagree with your implied point that these "hiccups" should not be looked at as giving focus to the real threats we face as opposed to the imagined ones.

Re:We should be celebrating! (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#25587955)

Not to sound insensitive, but Hurricane Katrina did highlight just how abysmally poor the state of the US disaster preparedness was.

Correct that to New Orleans disaster preparedness...
Other places do a LOT better.

Re:We should be celebrating! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25589065)

Correct that to New Orleans disaster preparedness...
Other places do a LOT better.

Compare and contrast Ike to Katrina.

Re:We should be celebrating! (1)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25588937)

Not to sound insensitive, but Hurricane Katrina did highlight just how abysmally poor the state of the US disaster preparedness was.

When the Northridge Earthquake hit us back in '94, FEMA was very much on the ball. I believe the director came out here the next day. Of course, back then there were actually competent people in charge at FEMA...

Re:We should be celebrating! (2, Insightful)

astrodoom (1396409) | more than 5 years ago | (#25589825)

In other words, I disagree with your implied point that these "hiccups" should not be looked at as giving focus to the real threats we face as opposed to the imagined ones.

I don't think that was my implied point at all. My statement was a response to the comment of the parent comment. His statement was that we should celebrate these events because they helped to make the internet a better and safer place (He then sarcastically added "Right?").

I then gave another (albeit different) example of exactly what he was talking about. In actuality, I agree with what you (and the original comment) are saying. We are constantly learning from these disasters, but at the same time, I don't think we learn the real lesson. We can say that the lesson of the Morris Worm is that you need security, but I think the real lesson with the Morris Worm is that complete security doesn't exist. By the same token, you can say that Katrina showed us how poor our disaster response is, but I would be more concerned about the lesson of "They built a city under sea level, and were surprised when it flooded".

I think the first mod who came across my post thought about it a little and that's why he modded it Insightful rather than Funny or Off-topic. I could be wrong though, I don't know the guy.

Re:We should be celebrating! (1)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 5 years ago | (#25594773)

> "They built a city under sea level, and were surprised when it flooded".

Did you know about 60% of the Dutch population lives under the sea level? How about "They built a city under sea level in an area where hurricanes are common, and were surprised when it flooded"?

Re:We should be celebrating! (1)

astrodoom (1396409) | more than 5 years ago | (#25599843)

How about "They built a city under sea level in an area where hurricanes are common, and were surprised when it flooded"?

Fair enough :-)

Re:We should be celebrating! (1)

SageMusings (463344) | more than 5 years ago | (#25590087)

Katrina did highlight just how abysmally poor the state of the US disaster preparedness was

I think it showed how the general population could willfully ignore the fact a deadly hurricane was about to overtake them. I am really sorry for all the property damage but the human toll would have been far less if people were capable of making the correct decisions. Too many people are quick to blame the GOVT when the individuals themselves were negligent.

Re:We should be celebrating! (4, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#25587537)

Technically, I think it makes programmers better and THAT makes the net safer... more or less. Back then people could say "oh shit, didn't know they could do that!" but today it means, or can mean, loss of revenue via real data loss or via decreased reputation. So now instead of "shit, didn't know they could do that" has become "shit, they did it again. Quick, delete the evidence, and don't tell anyone... someone call marketing/legal, get the spin machine goin."

they did know how to do it, and were unimpressed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25589433)

What he did was not considered new at the time. But he was the first one rude enough to do it in a destructive manner. The problem was known at the time and the agreement was you just didn't do that.

Re:We should be celebrating! (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25587549)

Only in the same way nuclear weapons make the world a better and safer place.

Re:We should be celebrating! (1)

Thansal (999464) | more than 5 years ago | (#25587733)

The ghouls and super mutants probably would like to have a word with you.

terrorist! (5, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#25587373)

Robert Tappan Morris, the 21-year-old Cornell University student who unleashed the first worm attack on the Internet in 1988, has fully rehabilitated his reputation in the computer science community. Today, he is a respected associate professor of computer science at MIT.

Sounds like a terrorist to me. And anyone who's ever taken one of his classes or worked with him is guilty of palling around with terrorists.

Whoosh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25587519)

I hope whoever modded this flamebait stays in bed all day on November 4th. Some people are just too dumb to be allowed to vote.

Re:Whoosh (meta-comment) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25588303)

Technically, it is validly flagged as flamebait as it can attract the attention of the less educated who would read it for face value, rather than for the sarcasm.

Without making the sarcasm blatantly obvious to the mindless, the post crosses ever so slightly into the realm of flamebait.

Re:Whoosh (1)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 5 years ago | (#25588317)

Yeah, some people are too dumb to be able to tell the difference between Apples and Oranges as well, apparently... Film at 11.

Re:Whoosh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25588449)

Yeah, some people are too dumb to be able to tell the difference between Apples and Oranges as well, apparently... Film at 11.

No kidding. Everyone knows you make juice with one of them.

Re:Whoosh (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25590209)

You must mean all the people voting for Democrats this year, since it was Democrats who caused the financial crisis by forcing banks to give high-risk loans to poor people who couldn't pay them back, all in the name of "social justice." Democrats served at Fannie Mae, and Obama was their top donation recipient. Now they're going to be rewarded with a one-party supermajority government...just like what we had with Bush.

Re:terrorist! (1, Funny)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#25587565)

You mean he has explicitly said he doesn't regret it and that he wishes he had done more damage?

Re:terrorist! (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 5 years ago | (#25590001)

You mean he has explicitly said he doesn't regret it and that he wishes he had done more damage?

Does it matter, assuming we're talking about people who've worked with him or taken classes from him?

I have a good friend who happens to be conservative. I happen to be liberal. He pals around with me anyway. He agrees that anyone who tried to judge his opinions or beliefs based on anything I've said or done would be a complete and utter moron, even though it's quite true that he willingly pals around with me, even considers me a close friend.

You gotta wonder about the intelligence of someone who would think my political views are in any way related to his, simply because we happen to be close friends. What scares me is, there are people out there for whom this is plausible, who, like Michelle Bachman, seem to think that it's logical to assume someone wouldn't be your friend unless you have common political views (heard this straight out of her mouth the other day while she was trying to justify her previous comments -- she really thinks you can't be friends with someone unless you share political views). Have we come to that as a nation? Do most people simply refuse to be friends with someone who won't vote the same way they do? *sigh*

Re:terrorist! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25587743)

you mean he pals around with _theorists_?

Re:terrorist! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25588185)

sorry, forgot to credit:

http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=1088

Re:terrorist! (2, Funny)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 5 years ago | (#25589091)

Theorists? Terrorists?

Same thing really. Just lookie at some of them theories, them cotton pickin' high falutin' theorists came up with! I mean the Earth not being 6000 year old like the Bible says it must be and all that evolube...shion thing! Next thing them be trying to say that the Sun does not go round the Earth as the Lord intended! I say get them all commie theorizing terrorists in the Gitmo where they belong!

Re:terrorist! (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 5 years ago | (#25590839)

You know, Obama did pal around with Morris when he was 8. McCain was going to bring this up, but he was worried that Obama would bring up the fact that McCain was boyhood friends with John Wilkes Booth.

Re:terrorist! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25591533)

Sounds like a terrorist to me. And anyone who's ever taken one of his classes or worked with him is guilty of palling around with terrorists.

I have to say it, this is apalling!

Re:terrorist! (1)

bboxman (1342573) | more than 5 years ago | (#25593311)

There is absolutely nothing wrong with sending bits to a computer. That the computer doesn't behave as expected as a result isn't the fault of the sender; it is the fault of the programming staff responsible for the fault.

The authors of Sendmail (and IIRC, emacs and one other program) are guilty of negligiance. Perhaps free software should be allowed a disclaimer out. But M$, Google, Apple, and their ilk should not. Instead of going after people who just "spoke" to the systems, society should pursue those really responsible -- with a civil case pursuing damaged (which may be in the billions, for some cases of M$ malware).

One more year... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25587379)

and it will be old enough to start drinking.

Re:One more year... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25587839)

In Soviet Tijuana, worm eats YOU!

Wish I had mod points (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25590925)

Someone mod this and the parent post Funny, please.

A special day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25587411)

This was the day that RTM or RTFM didn't refer to reading a manual.

Re:A special day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25587451)

Today it stands for Ride The [Fucking] Morris.

PC's get virus's? (1)

Dr.D.IS.GREAT (1249946) | more than 5 years ago | (#25587477)

I wish someone would have told me PC's get virus's before I fucked 15 of them.

Dr. D

Still not old enough (1)

prajjwal (965508) | more than 5 years ago | (#25587587)

To drink!

It's dead (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#25588521)

Drink? It's practically dead/extinct already. There aren't many hosts for the morris worm. You have to voluntarily set up a host for it.

So it's a bit inaccurate to say the worm has turned 20.

More accurate to say that it's the 20th anniversary of the worm's attack.

Re:It's dead (3, Funny)

interstellar_donkey (200782) | more than 5 years ago | (#25589271)

That's why I have all of my servers set to operate without rhythm, so as not to attract the worm.

Sad fact is... (0, Offtopic)

Humorless Coward. (862619) | more than 5 years ago | (#25587665)

Everyone's a potential terrorist, if you define terrorism as broadly as the Bush Administration does. And, given six degrees of separation, everyone on the planet associates with "known terrorists."

Unwinnable wars (and I'm not talking ones involving military intervention), unwarranted accusations of affiliation with enemies, and heightened paranoid states have become hallmarks of modern Western government. We hold THESE truths to be self-evident.

So, persons convicted of computer security crimes have become part of The Establishemt. Yay. I feel neither less secure nor more.

This relates in what way again? (1, Offtopic)

WheelDweller (108946) | more than 5 years ago | (#25589113)

Another decade goes by with powerful Microsoft pretending to be helpless facing the dreaded teenager-in-Tahiti scenario. Threats from the Justice Department: Not a problem. Threats from Sybase? Steal their code. Anyone else? Buy'em out or burn'em out, whichever's cheapest. They fear nothing: they want the danger.

Now, I'm a Conservative; neither Bush makes me smile...they're far too much like Liberals spending and taxing like they're on crack. But what does your knee-jerk hatred of the Bush Administration got to do with the 20-year milestone of a computer prank?

I keep hearing the Left curse Bush for every cause known to man;
- Katria, because he didn't sign Kyoto (Clinton didn't either)
- Aiming it at New Orleans because he hates Negroes (though the actual body count was 253 to 254 just after the storm).
- It's even Bush's fault because while a dozen-or-more intelligence departments (as well as Clinton, Kerry, and other Democrats) said there was WMDs in there, it turns out there were few.

        None of these were his fault. But you're programmed to believe it; you're letting your TV think for you. It chose McCain, too: I nearly wretched! Still, he's not a Marxist, nor does he consort with racists nor terrorists.

But show me ONE guy, minding his own business who's put up on charges and spent so much as a single night in Guantanmo Bay for being a terrorist. No one seems able.

Like in the Democrat Mortgage Scandal. America "Had to pay!" about a TRILLION dollars to keep the banking system open after Democrats forced them to make loans to people who couldn't pay. Surprise! They didn't pay. So this is a both-sides issue? No. Name me ONE Republican who stood before Congress as did Barney Frank and told them not to investigate Frannie & Freddie. Not one Republican. Maybe it, too, was because Bush didn't sign Kyoto....hmm... Oh, and BTW: the banks who "needed" this money to stay open are now paying bonuses with it. Thanks, Congress.

I'm sorry, but the propaganda is leaking from your ears. Conservatives are fair-market and fair-minded people; they're not bigots, homophobes or haters of any kind. But we *are* tired of being given the labels better fitting Democrats:

    - Democrats needed Republican votes to pass the Civil Rights bill of '64.
    - Al Gore's dad voted against it.
    - Bull Shannon, in a famous video clip was the guy who ordered attack dogs and fire hoses to be used on Negroes: Democrat
    - George Wallace, standing in the door of that school in Forest Gump: Democrat.

    And at no time has this changed. The color blind party is STILL the one that freed them in the first place. If we weren't the first to end slavery, we were among the first: we have no reason to feel guilty.

    Conservatives don't want to pick your car, your food, your light bulbs, or your pockets by way of taxes, to spread the wealth around. These are each Democratic/Liberal causes. Start asking critical questions: think for yourself.

(Yeah, I'll get modded down for trolling or whatever, but this needless brainwashing has got to stop!)

Re:This relates in what way again? (1, Offtopic)

Mr. Firewall (578517) | more than 5 years ago | (#25589301)

(Yeah, I'll get modded down for trolling or whatever, but this needless brainwashing has got to stop!)

Yup. The bastards modded you down. And then they accuse YOUR ilk of "censorship"!

Wow... (2, Interesting)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 5 years ago | (#25587681)

I would LOVE to see some of that old news footage!
-Taylor

Re:Wow... (4, Interesting)

altek (119814) | more than 5 years ago | (#25588149)

I was only 8 years old at the time. But I remember it well, because I was already very into computers (programming in BASIC on an Apple IIe, and my friend's C64).

Anyway, I remember it being on the news every day, and they were using all kinds of scary "Computer virus" graphics, and talking about virus this and that. I don't recall the word "worm" being used.

But the thing I remember most about the coverage was some of the journalists warning that it is still unknown whether or not computer viruses can be transferred to humans! I'm not kidding, they actually were trying to spread fear that people could catch this virus too. I don't know if this was intentional, or due to sheer ignorance. And they were also saying it could be transferred between PC's over the air (and I'm not confusing this with sneakernet)...

So yea, I wish I could see some of that old footage too :)

Re:Wow... (4, Informative)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 5 years ago | (#25588423)

Found something:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2i_6j55bS0 [youtube.com]
Its so silly now it almost seems like a joke. Luckily the people from MIT actually do seem reasonable, but the newscasters and their production team are just crazy.
Man, i can't believe 1988 was 20 years ago... I was 4.
-Taylor

Re:Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25588983)

Why, for the love of god, do they use footage from the old Atari 2600 game ET?! (Around the 2 minute mark) I know it's a painful and mentally destructive piece of software, but classifying it as a virus is a bit harsh!

Re:Wow... (1)

writermike (57327) | more than 5 years ago | (#25590181)

I LOLed a bit when it showed up. What was the point?

(Hmmm... I need footage that screams, "VIRUS!!!" I know! I'll show E.T.!)

W T F??

Re:Wow... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#25589283)

Man, i can't believe 1988 was 20 years ago... I was 4.

The Plague: The year was 1988. And this nasty virus crashed fifteen hundred systems in one day.
Zero Cool: Fifteen hundred and seven.

Re:Wow... (1)

MaxwellEdison (1368785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25589317)

Wait a second...so according to that news report Morris forced everyone to play E.T.? That is insidious!

Re:Wow... (1)

interstellar_donkey (200782) | more than 5 years ago | (#25589465)

That's an awesome and terribly funny news clip. 20 years ago I was 14. I never realized how silly college students looked back then.

Re:Wow... (1)

Astrorunner (316100) | more than 5 years ago | (#25589539)

I think I was 15 at the time. as a computer geek then, it completely fascinated me. Our high school had a vax -- and I believe they unplugged the thing, even though AFAIK it wasn't connected to the internet (er arpanet at the time, I guess).

yay (1)

EncryptedSoldier (1278816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25587713)

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you!

How does this worm turn 20? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25587789)

Is it still active?

Honestly...

Re:How does this worm turn 20? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25588709)

O_o

Err....
Well... ...
Not really... no!

not far from the tree (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25588057)

These renowned security hackers (Allman, Spafford, Bellovin, etc) speak of leniency for rtm, which I have no problem with. But rarely mentioned is the fact that they all knew of (or knew personally or worked with) rtm's dad, [wikipedia.org] who was a crypto hacker himself, so they all weren't entirely unbiased about the incident.

Re:not far from the tree (2, Funny)

idontgno (624372) | more than 5 years ago | (#25589299)

rtm's dad, who was a crypto hacker himself, so they all weren't entirely unbiased about the incident.

I've often wondered about that myself, both before I became a father (and therefore put myself into rtm's place) and after (when I put myself into Morris Sr.'s place).

The scenario pretty much involved Sr. saying "My kid did what?!

Doesn't make sense (5, Funny)

gsgriffin (1195771) | more than 5 years ago | (#25588191)

How can a worm on the "net" be 20 years old? Gore wasn't in office yet!

Re:Doesn't make sense (1)

budcub (92165) | more than 5 years ago | (#25588241)

He was Senator Al Gore Jr. at the time.

Re:Doesn't make sense (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 5 years ago | (#25588725)

Nice joke, but, in fact, he was. In 1988 he was in his third year as a freshman Senator, having already served eight years in the House.

Re:Doesn't make sense (3, Informative)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 5 years ago | (#25590077)

Yes, and it was during his congressional career that he and a number of other congressmen did take the initiative in drafting and passing legislation that would move the Internet from an military and academic network into something we could all use, in effect, creating the public Internet as we know it today. He never claimed to have invented the Internet, he did claim to have taken the initiative, and a bit of fact-checking proves what he said was indeed true.

Morris? (1)

JayAitch (1277640) | more than 5 years ago | (#25588267)

Sources say the notorious Morris the Worm come from a hairball coughed up by Morris the Cat. If only he wasn't so finicky.

(ducks) Hey I tried.

RMJCC FTW! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25588289)

Wait! (1)

ttigue (1305311) | more than 5 years ago | (#25588339)

Wait, you're ZeroCool!!!!!

Wakeup call implies people actually woke up (5, Insightful)

Snowblindeye (1085701) | more than 5 years ago | (#25588383)

... served as a wake-up call about the risk of software bugs, and it set the stage for network security...

Calling it a wake-up call would imply that people actually woke up and fixed things afterwards.

I don't think that happened. ActiveX was invented after the Morris worm. People wrote email programs that interpreted VBScript in the mail and executed it after the Morris worm.

Remember the goodtimes virus hoax? It was a joke that a virus could propagate via email. It was funny, because viruses *couldn't* propagate via email. Then people implemented that feature in mail programs, opening the door to a rapid rise in email viruses. All, *after* the Morris worm.

So give me a break, but I don't think anybody woke up that time. Or later, for that matter. I don't think the mainstream is taking network security seriously to this day.

Re:Wakeup call implies people actually woke up (3, Funny)

interstellar_donkey (200782) | more than 5 years ago | (#25589521)

Indeed.

Writing sloppy code is cheaper and raises profits for software developers, from the OS on down.

Exploiting that sloppy code helps kids stay off the streets.

Writing anti-virus software and operating network security companies need the kids to write the viruses that exploit the sloppy code which increased profits for the initial developers.

It's kind of like the circle of life, and everybody wins!

Re:Wakeup call implies people actually woke up (1)

namco (685026) | more than 5 years ago | (#25593369)

It's kind of like the circle of life, and everybody wins!

Not until I write an EltonJohn worm that sings Circle of Life...no wait, an even better idea for a singing worm:

RickAstley!

Re:Wakeup call implies people actually woke up (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25591567)

... served as a wake-up call about the risk of software bugs, and it set the stage for network security...

Calling it a wake-up call would imply that people actually woke up and fixed things afterwards.

I will often go back to sleep after my alarm clock goes off.

Re:Wakeup call implies people actually woke up (1)

jgrahn (181062) | more than 5 years ago | (#25593187)

... served as a wake-up call about the risk of software bugs, and it set the stage for network security...

Calling it a wake-up call would imply that people actually woke up and fixed things afterwards.

I don't think that happened. ActiveX was invented after the Morris worm. People wrote email programs that interpreted VBScript in the mail and executed it after the Morris worm. [...]So give me a break, but I don't think anybody woke up that time.[...]

Do you think Microsoft cared what happened on the Internet and in the Unix community in 1988? The PC and home computer people have been mostly isolated until recently, and have repeated the same old mistakes over and over again.

It think it was a wakeup call at the time. It showed that you could not treat things on your Internet (or UUCP) connection as friendly by default -- you had to install fixes for at least the most obvious and well-known sendmail and finger bugs; you could not keep semi-public guest accounts ... It also showed how serious consequences an automated attach could have.

He invented the Net then? (0, Troll)

gsgriffin (1195771) | more than 5 years ago | (#25588409)

I thought he "invented the Net" when he was the V.P.? At least that what I thought he said.

Re:He invented the Net then? (2, Informative)

Drooling Iguana (61479) | more than 5 years ago | (#25589005)

No, he sponsored the bill to create the Internet when he was in Congress.

Re:He invented the Net then? (4, Informative)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 5 years ago | (#25589043)

Here, learn something...
http://www.snopes.com/quotes/internet.asp [snopes.com]

Re:He invented the Net then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25591651)

wow, such a bitch to defend your prophet like. i wonder how big that dick er... stick up your ass becomes when someone tarnishes your messiah obama like that.

what a fucking cunt you must be. little bitch.

RTM (2, Interesting)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 5 years ago | (#25588601)

For an excellent verbal picture of Morris, his exploits, and the net as a whole in that era read Steven Levy's "Hackers." Having lived in Redwood City, Ca, one block from the El Camino Real, having accessed MIT's CS facility and seen the "lusers" login message for myself, and even tried the famous choc. chip cookie recipe, and having as a close friend an ex-employee of the old Sierra On-Line Games, all mentioned in the book, it was just a delightful read. It was fun to connect up the missing dots in my incomplete memory of the early days of the internet.

Still on the net? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25588657)

Is the worm still infecting computers and still on the net?

Yes, I remember -- I was there (2)

Arrogant-Bastard (141720) | more than 5 years ago | (#25588659)

And having read "The Shockwave Rider", had some idea of what we were up against. My role that day is described elsewhere and is of little importance, however. What IS important is that it provided a wake-up call that was badly needed, and that it taught us one of our early lessons in reactive self-defense, full disclosure, and cooperation. We're still learning.

Re:Yes, I remember -- I was there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25593467)

Brunner... That's a good book, from what I remember.

At first i saw "Mourning Worm Turns 20", then, (2, Funny)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#25588663)

i thought about the Doors, for some reason...

They think his punishment too harsh?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25589297)

OK, I agree, it was too harsh but compared to what you would get today for doing something like that I think he got off easy.

Cripes, really 20 years ago? (1)

David Off (101038) | more than 5 years ago | (#25589693)

I remember coming into the office and everyone was standing around looking glum. Finally someone suggested we have a cup of tea. What do do? There was no Usenet coming down the pipe, how would we get through the day without reading news? It was horrible. Little did we know we'd be offline for 3 days and it wouldn't be until the next week that service would get back to normal. We actually had to go and do some work!

Gawd, makes me feel really old. How is ol' RTM?

Re:Cripes, really 20 years ago? (1)

bigsteve@dstc (140392) | more than 5 years ago | (#25590613)

How is ol' RTM?

LIUOW :-)

So the Worm has Turned (1)

PingPongBoy (303994) | more than 5 years ago | (#25590003)

So if you may have heard "a worm that turned", it is a saying that means a worm is defending itself. [phrases.org.uk] Who ever thought words taken out of context have simple meanings?

What if? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25591829)

I've always wondered how things would have turned out if they had decided back then that the vendors selling the vulnerabilities were responsible for the damage it permitted (encouraged?) instead of pretending that there would never be bad guys on the network. Maybe all those Microsoft viruses would never have happened...

I remember as if it were yesterday... (1)

kaaona (252061) | more than 5 years ago | (#25592407)

It was Wednesday. That afternoon we learned there was a "worm" loose on the network. The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) had slammed closed the gateways between the unclassified operational MILNET and the original R&D ARPANet. Unfortunately DISA did two things wrong: 1) they were too late, and 2) they cut the DoD off from critical civilian information sources needed to mitigate and stop the worm.

For two days the Air Force struggled to identify all of its UNIX systems on the MILNET. We didn't have databases like we had today. Whenever the folks at Gunter Air Force Station found another site, they'd relay the information to me. The phone call that followed went something like this:

"Hello. This is Captain Foo from Air Force Communications Command Directorate of Operations. There is a 'worm' propagating throughout the MILNET and attacking UNIX systems. You MUST disconnect your system ASAP."

"Uh sir, this is Airman Snuffy. You want me to do WHAT? I can't do that without authorization from my supervisor, Master Sergeant Flap."

"Then call him immediately."

"But it's four o'clock in the morning..."

"Call him. NOW!"

This went on around the clock for two days. By evening on Friday, November 4th I slumped into the basement bar at the O Club. I looked and felt like hell. As I reached for the pitcher of beer on the table my friends asked "What's wrong?"

"There's a mother-f****** worm loose on the DDN."

"A what?"

In the days that followed we learned that the Air Force losses were limited to one UNIX workstation at MacDill AFB, FL and a bunch of workstations behind the Aeronet Gateway in California. The Army and Navy got hammered.

About the time I'd decided I wanted to cut off the b***s of whoever was responsible, I learned it was the son of one of the most distinguished men associated with the early Internet.

For the rest of this story, I refer the reader to Clifford Stohl's "The Cookoo's Egg".

Who the hell is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25592753)

...Morris Worm ?
and why should we care that he's 20? I have enough problems with my own damn kids.
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