VBS/Monopoly FAQ

August 08, 1999 Sophos Press Release


What is this new "Bill Gates" virus people are talking about?

VBS/Monopoly. This is a self-emailing Visual Basic Script (VBS) worm which masquerades as a joke.

Is it another Melissa?

It doesn't seem to be, otherwise we'd have had reports about it spreading. We suggest adding protection for it, though, even though it doesn't appear to be in-the-wild yet.

Is it dangerous?

All viruses are potentially dangerous (they are guilty of unauthorised access and unauthorised modification even if they only spread). Additionally, VBS/Monopoly leaks information from your computer, so it could breach confidentiality. It also redistributes itself from your computer via email to everyone in your address book, so you can't deny having passed it on.

Why the excitement about it?

Probably because of the side-effects, which are a side-swipe at Microsoft, rather than any dramatic danger. The virus pops up a dialog claiming "Bill Gates is guilty of monopoly. Here is the proof.". It then displays a picture showing a Monopoly board with Bill Gates's picture in the middle and the corner squares (Free Parking and Go To Jail) replaced with Microsoft images.

Why issue this warning about it, then?

This virus masquerades as a joke. It looks harmless, because it has an overtly humorous side (which you see when you click on the attachment) that serves to cover up its malevolent side (redistributing itself in your name, and sending personal information out of your company).

We want to warn people NOT to get in the habit of passing on jokes, because this sets weak security standards. Don't dismiss your system administrators as killjoys because they won't let you have a bit of "fun". In the long run, they are helping establish a safer working environment.

How can I protect against VBS/Monopoly?

For further information about this worm and how to detect it please click here.