Two years since Melissa - Sophos launches new guidelines to prevent the sequel

March 22, 2001 Sophos Press Release

With Tuesday 27th March marking the second anniversary of the outbreak of the Melissa virus, Sophos Anti-Virus is asking what users have learnt in this time. The recent widespread outbreaks of viruses such as the Love Bug and the Anna Kournikova worm would suggest that many users have failed to take heed.

In an attempt to raise user awareness, Sophos has published its new safe computing guidelines outlining the simple steps that users and IT administrators can take to help protect against virus attacks.

There are two versions of the guidelines available, one for network administrators and another for everyday computer users.

"Many computer users are still being caught out by the same old tricks," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos Anti-Virus. "Anti-virus software combined with safe computing practices can dramatically reduce your chances of virus infection. The second anniversary of the Melissa outbreak seems a fitting time to announce the release of these guidelines."

The Melissa virus, written by David L Smith, was one of the first viruses to use mass-emailing techniques to spread itself around the world. Since then, many viruses have used similar techniques. Smith pleaded guilty in December 1999 to causing over $80 million dollars worth of damage. However, he has not yet been sentenced.

"It is surprising that the US authorities have still not dealt with the architect of one of the world's largest virus incidents," added Cluley. "What sort of message is society sending to youngsters who are considering writing and distributing viruses?"