Erika Engle

‘Mydoom,‘ ‘Beagles’
and ‘Bagels,’ oh my

"MYDOOM" is the worst computer virus attack since the "Blaster" worm ... "the biggest attack since August" ... "It may make people think the attachment is harmless" ... reported Bloomberg News, quoting officials with anti-virus companies such as Network Associates Inc., Symantec Corp. and Finland-based F-Secure Oyj.

Mydoom is powerful and is capable of changing the kinds of e-mail attachments it sends. The virus is programmed to bombard and therefore block access to the Web site of SCO Group Inc., which is trying to obtain royalties from companies that use the Linux operating system, Bloomberg reported.

Ironically, one of those companies, Honolulu-based, uses Linux for customers of its PauSpam e-mail filtering service and is impervious to the viruses and worms circumnavigating cyberspace.

One needn't open a problem e-mail to get infected.

"When you use Outlook (Express) and you have an HTML e-mail ... if your Internet Explorer is not patched, merely viewing virus-laden e-mails in the preview window can leave you vulnerable," said President Hoala Greevy.

The cyber-contagion is targeted at Microsoft products, as usual. Patches are available at

Another good site to check for the seriousness of the threat and different patches is, said Yuka Nagashima, president and chief executive officer of LavaNet Inc.

Mydoom, also known as NovaRG, began cascading into Hawaii e-mail servers yesterday.

LavaNet was logging Mydoom at one per second between 4 and 4:30 p.m. It had diagnosed and started filtering the virus by late morning.

The virus is spread not just via e-mail, but also through KaZaA, a peer-to-peer file-sharing service.

"If you have that file-sharing protocol, then you will be infected," Nagashima said.

Another attractive feature of Mydoom is that it logs a user's keystrokes, meaning it can record and exploit a credit card number used for an online purchase.

"It is also not good to (Internet service providers) that people belong to because the recipient ISP is then getting huge files and so the legitimate mail is now slowed down," Nagashima said. The Star-Bulletin was one of the victims of slow mail.

The computer worm known as "Beagle" and its alter-ego "Bagel" were being filtered as early as Jan. 18.

It is set to deactivate on Jan. 28, so it will stop replicating itself, Greevy said. It was still pouring into PauSpam servers at the rate of 100 per minute as of 3 p.m. yesterday, he said.

LavaNet's Spammo filtering service is only available to the company's customers, but Nagashima and fellow company co-founders have established Tiki Technologies Corp. to introduce a new version to everyone else. Interested beta-testers can send an e-mail to

The commercial product will be tailored to take into consideration the differing filtration needs of, say, a day care center and an adult video store, Nagashima said. Pricing will depend on company size.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at:


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