Internet: 28Mar1999

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Internet Story: 28 Mar 1999

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In this issue:

Alarming UK Legal Precedent

New Fast Spreading Virus

Ultimate Net Recipes


Alarming UK legal precedent   If the nonsense judgement by Mr Justice Morland in London’s High Court is held up then the UK will become a hostile place for a developing e-commerce market!  The judgement essentially makes ISPs responsible for content that is published by anyone on their servers.  That's a bit like holding BT responsible for conversations between people.  The case is the result of "serial Cyberlibel plaintiff" Dr Laurence Godfrey's latest suit against Demon Internet.  On 17th January 1997, someone (traced back to an unknown, non-Demon user in the US) published a message in the soc.culture.thai newsgroup in the name of Dr Godfrey.  He asked Demon to remove it from their newsgroup servers and they refused.  For this Dr Godfrey hold Demon responsible for his defamation.  This is not the first time that Dr Godfrey has seen such action.   A case, which I recall from seeing the discussions at the time, involved remarks made by Phil Hallam-Baker in the early 90s - there was quite a heated discussion between the two (and various other participants) in several newsgroups at the time (soc.culture.british is the one I recall).  This all ended in 1996 with an out-of-court settlement.  Although I am somewhat reluctant to say anything against Dr Godfrey (for obvious reasons), from these incidents and from his behavior in the Newsgroups in the early 90s...  I hope he can sleep at nights and that he's exiled to Canada!  As for the judge - obviously has an IQ less than a BBC programme planner!   See the following links for more details:  BBC  |   Demon Internet  |  Cyber-Rights UK   |  Wired   |  San Jose Mercury   |  ZDNet   |  ZDNet UK.

See some of his other antics:  Ottawa | Sydney | Cornell University


BEWARE: New Fast Spreading Virus   All users of MS Outlook should be aware of a new virus that hit the streets on Friday.  It won't damage your data or computer but it will steal your address book and mail all your friends with itself!  "This is the fastest-spreading virus we've seen," said Srivats Sampath, general manager for the McAfee Software.

The Melissa macro virus propagates in the form of an email message containing an infected Word document as an attachment.  The transport message has most frequently been reported to contain the following Subject header

Subject: Important Message From <name>

Where <name> is the full name of the user sending the message.

The body of the message is a multipart MIME message containing two sections. The first section of the message (Content-Type: text/plain) contains the following text.

Here is that document you asked for ... don't show anyone else ;-)

The next section (Content-Type: application/msword) was initially reported to be a document called "list.doc".  This document contains references to pornographic web sites.  As this macro virus spreads we are likely to see documents with other names.  In fact, under certain conditions the virus may generate attachments with documents created by the victim.

Finally, if the minute of the hour matches the day of the month at this point, the macro inserts into the current document the message "Twenty-two points, plus triple-word-score, plus fifty points for using all my letters.  Game's over.   I'm outta here."

See the CERT Advisory (CA-99-04-Melissa-Macro-Virus) for more info.  Also see the Network Associates alert and the ZDNet UK article.


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Ultimate Net Recipes  If you want to find out how to cook anything from Icelandic Snowflake Breads to Spam Carbonera, or even a Vulcan Wedding Cake, then look no further than the Searchable Online Archive of Recipes (SOAR) at Berkeley University.  Probably the Net's most extensive searchable database of recipes from the ordinary to the downright weird!   You can search for any words contained in a recipe or use their classified directory to drill down (a la Yahoo!) and find the dish of your choice.  At the time of writing there are 45,934 recipes currently indexed.  Just the job for that Internet workstation in the kitchen :-)


Andrew Stringer, Pendle.Net Ltd, 1999

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