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Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Having spent more time today deleting infected emails than actually working, I think I'm ready to move on to something else. Anything else. The worm didn't penetrate the defenses (thanks, Norton), but it was still a nuisance and a time waster.

Unfortunately, it wasn't enough for me to take my own precautions. Mail from the link on the company web site gets sent both to me and to Tim. Although I never open email attachments unless I know exactly what they are, Tim isn't that sophisticated around computers. He's a carpenter, which is an honorable profession, but it didn't prepare him for hacker treachery.

The way this worm spreads is kind of nasty. (But aren't they all that way? It's their nature.) If you open the attachment, the virus sends itself to a random contact from your address book, using one of those names as a fake return address. It's specifically designed so that the From address is not the address it's actually coming from. I've had a few automatically generated responses from various businesses, either telling me I've sent them an infected file or thanking me for my interest in their product.

Well, it wasn't me. It probably wasn't even Tim's computer that sent it out, but everything comes back to me as well as him. It's a vicious cycle, but it's the way the thing is supposed to work. There's no real comfort in that, nor in the fact that this is a third-party virus, and these messages could be coming from any computer that has my address in it.

And since the messages are being sent to the corporate address, I'm sure it has nothing to do with this site. Pretty sure, anyway.

I told Tim to get someone to help him clean up his computer. He's too far away for me to help. This would be a good time for him to take care of it, because he'll be home the next few weeks recovering from shoulder surgery he had today.

Which reminds me: Oh no! Tim with three weeks and no nails to pound (or whatever it is he does) means three weeks of phone calls loaded with off-the-wall questions. If he has time to think, he actually tries to do it. Then I get drafted to solve whatever problems he can imagine, real or not. In that way, he's exactly like his father (the Boss).

It's a little like trying to deal with a human version of a worm, one who doesn't need computers because he delivers his aggravating annoyances in person. But maybe being laid up will give him a chance to get the time cards to me early for the next few weeks. It won't happen, but it would make it easier to take the barrage of interruptions I know is coming.

19 August 2003

A whole extended family of turkeys wandered through my yard today.

It also seems that many of the companies who have our name in their address books were infected with the worm. I've been getting messages with the Sobig.F attachment from people I've never heard of, but I can tell by their addresses that they're in the same field of construction we are.

The way the worm works makes it impossible (for me, anyway) to trace the source of tainted messages. You could get a little dizzy trying to figure out where these things are coming from. Better to just delete them and move on.

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Through all the confusion today, I might have inadvertently added names to my Junk Senders list that shouldn't have been added. I went a little crazy with that feature and didn't really think things through. I've gone through the list twice now to make sure I didn't delete anyone I really want to hear from. And that includes almost anyone who isn't trying to sell me something I didn't ask for.

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Honeymoon
"But for me it's like being given the keys to Disneyland, except that I have to figure out how all the rides work."

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When the dust had finally settled
And the air had quickly cleared,
Things were better off than I had feared.