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BBC Links Linux To MyDoom 1194

Posted by simoniker
from the supporting-the-cause dept.
minus_273 writes "It seems the BBC has a story on their front page titled 'Linux cyber-battle turns nasty', very specifically linking Linux users to the MyDoom virus. Some lines to note: 'If anyone's anger has no measure, it is the wrath of internet zealots who believe that code should be free to all (open source). So, it seems likely that the perpetrators of the MyDoom virus and its variants are internet vandals with a specific grudge.'"
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BBC Links Linux To MyDoom

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  • by nametaken (610866) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:30AM (#8187015)
    That the BBC is being criticized worldwide for making unfounded claims.
    • by jangell (633044) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:35AM (#8187039)
      Who gives a shit if a Linux user wrote it? If a Windows user wrote a virus to attack Linux the news articles wouldn't be saying "Microsoft Users are Evil. Attacking innocent Linux Users".. They would be.. "Linux is Inseccure and worthless" ..

      If you don't want viruses to spread, don't have users running as adminstrators as default. Don't write worthless code.

      Microsoft is just asking for it, as is SCO.
      • by mirko (198274) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:53AM (#8187157) Journal
        Who gives a shit if a Linux user wrote it ?

        Well, if MyDoom is indeed "la creme de la creme" in terms of Windows programing, then it is obvious its author is an expert Windows developer, isn't it ?

        So, it is quite flattering for the Linux community to associate any of its member to a multiplatform coding genius.
        • by sniggly (216454) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @06:28AM (#8187648) Journal
          If you don't like their reporting, use the feedback form:
          http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/help/3281777.stm

          "Linux cyber-battle turns nasty"

          Is your reporter Stephen Evans aware that MyDoom is a virus that is perpetrated by MS Windows machines? Meaning the virus was written to run ON windows BY a windows programmer...

          Could Mr. Evans please next time indicate where on earth he finds the factual evidence to support his amazing theory that mydoom is the "wrath of internet zealots who believe that code should be free to all", or are we now to believe the BBC supports baseless ranting against a group as diverse as those who support open source software? Couldn't it easily have been caused by disgruntled shareholders, maglignant ex employees or al quaeda for that matter?

          Thank god you didn't have a luminary such as Mr. Evans sexing up Iraqi WMD stories.
          • by mysticgoat (582871) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @07:07AM (#8187815) Homepage Journal

            Thanks for providing a link to the form. Here is what I just sent:

            Doubtless you are getting a lot of complaints about Stephen Evans' "Linux cyber-battle turns nasty". This is yet another.

            I am not a Linux zealot. After 14 years of making my living selling my skills with MS DOS and MS Windows OSs, I am just beginning to learn Linux. Why? To quote someone else: "It's free. It works. Doh." As I hope to continue to make my living with my computer skills, it is simply time for me to learn the OS that will dominate the next decade.

            Linux advocates as a group have no need to get aggressive against SCO or any of those who choose to regard Linux as their enemy. The faith in the Open Software paradigm is strong. Those who work with Linux know that if there is indeed any tainted code in it, it would only be a matter of rewriting the affected components. There is a strong desire to see SCO actually say what the code is that they think they bought rights of ownership to.

            I am very disappointed that BBC has been manipulated into spreading this FUD. I had higher expectations of its editorial judgment.
            • by Khazunga (176423) * on Thursday February 05, 2004 @07:38AM (#8187914)
              And here's mine:

              I would expect more from an established news source, such as BBC. In the wake of the David Kelly affair, which has profoundly stained BBC's reputation, here is a perfect example of a story based on pure speculation and hear-say.

              There is no suggestion that MyDoom was written by a Linux zealot, much less evidence. For all we know, it could have been SCO doing it, so its case reaches the headlights, and the pump-n-dump scheme fairs better. SCO's case against IBM is a wreck, and will hit a wall very soon on its own.

              I hope this letter produces editorial regulation inside BBC against unfounded stories. Don't compete with "The Sun".

              • by CaptainAlbert (162776) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @09:22AM (#8188342) Homepage
                A bit late to the party, but here is my response:


                I am writing to complain about the story entitled "Linux cyber-battle turns nasty" which appeared recently on your website. I have selected to file my comment under "Complaints", rather than "Factual Errors", because this article contains much more insinuation, speculation and hearsay than it does facts.

                Your reporter writes of the MyDoom virus, "It is also looks like [sic] a new front in a war waged by those who want to preserve the open-source Linux operating system". Well, appearances can be deceptive. A list of "those who wish to preserve Linux" would include companies like IBM, Novell, HP, and Motorola; universities like MIT, Stanford, Oxford, and Imperial College London; plus governments, businesses, schools and individuals all around the world. To imply that all these people are somehow complicit in the dissemination of a computer virus is insulting and dangerous, let alone downright ridiculous.

                He goes on to mention the "dark psyches" of the "run-of-the-mill geeks who wreak damage on the unsuspecting computer user". I have known many self-confessed geeks, most of them run-of-the-mill, and never met one who didn't despise the writers of viruses. You should note that a virus is usually the work of a very few people -- often, just one -- and not of a "community". Nevertheless, your reporter insists on smearing the name of the Open Source movement by insinuating that they are common criminals to a man, comparing them to "vandals" and "arsonists". No source is provided for this allegation, and no effort is made to solicit the opinions of the members of the community who are being accused of supporting this attack.

                So, the one-sidedness continues. We are told that "If anyone's anger has no measure, it is the wrath of internet zealots who believe that code should be free to all". This statement is pure tabloid journalism. It paints a picture of Linux users which, in my extensive experience of them, could not be further from the truth. As for readers who have not met a Linux user before, are they supposed to take it on trust that they are all angry, irrational people who will unleash (with the fervour of Islamic fundamentalists) terrifying cyber-attacks on anyone who disagrees with their philosophy? What a careless figure of speech!

                The nonsense continues. "... it seems likely that the perpetrators of the MyDoom virus and its variants are internet vandals with a specific grudge", he writes, starting to give up on the pretence that his "story" is in fact no more than a rough guess fleshed out with a few hundred words of opinionated drivel.

                He goes on, "SCO is the big, bad company that violates one of their sacred principles, as they would see it". This man should be writing propoganda speeches, not reporting on business news! He invokes the childish "Big Bad Wolf" image which, as the subjunctive "would see" then implies, the poor deluded open source community must be imagining.

                Aha! "There's no proof, of course" gets sneaked in underneath the standard "but it must be one of the theories" get-out clause. I cringe when I see trumped-up speculation like this in The Daily Mail; please don't let the BBC start inflicting it on me as well.

                In fact, from this entire article, I found just one paragraph with which I could almost agree. It read:

                "There seems little doubt that SCO was targeted - illegally and unacceptably, lest anyone be in any doubt - because it has enraged many people devoted to the Linux operating system."

                How your reporter made the jump between this fact -- that SCO's current unpopularity was the likely to be the reason they were targetted in preference to, say, Logica -- and his conclusion that the Open Source community is a hive of scum and villainy, I may never know. Ah, who knows what lurks Deep in the Darkness of the Psyche...

                I have always trusted the BBC to bring me interesting, well-researched news and impartial, educated comment. This article, with its fact-light, speculative content, its one-sided, simplistic argument and its sensationalist, cliche-ridden style, disappointed me more than anything I have ever read or heard from the BBC.

                Thank-you for your time.
              • by I confirm I'm not a (720413) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @09:53AM (#8188508) Journal

                And mine:

                "There seems little doubt that SCO was targeted - illegally and unacceptably, lest anyone be in any doubt - because it has enraged many people devoted to the Linux operating system."

                There is so far *no evidence* to support your assertion. Until this has been properly investigated, your claim merely serves to spread "FUD" (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt). There is, in fact, *considerable* doubt about whether the attack was launched by a Linux "devotee", not least because SCO took their servers offline prior to the scheduled attack (MyDoom.A). Microsoft (MyDoom.B) did not, and survived unscathed.

                Please report facts, not opinions. This is particularly import post-Hutton, when people such as myself fear for the future of the BBC. If you spread FUD like this, you are effectively "crying wolf". Who will believe you when the next whistle-blower steps forward to reveal shady Government practices?

                May I suggest you research http://www.groklaw.net prior to any further SCO/Linux stories? I have no relation with Groklaw, however it does seem to carry out adequate research prior to commenting on SCO/Linux.
            • by bonkedproducer (715249) <paulNO@SPAMpaulcouture.com> on Thursday February 05, 2004 @10:26AM (#8188821) Homepage Journal
              Here's my little salvo I fired off this morning:

              After reading the story "Linux cyber-battle turns nasty" by Stephen Evans today, I was shocked to see yet another respected media outlet so easily duped by reading the headlines, instead of investigating the facts of the story.

              As you know the story regards the fastest spreading Internet worm in history, myDoom.a and its variants. A common misconception is that this virus's purpose is to create a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS)against SCO's web servers. While this is partially true, anyone who takes as much as 5 minutes to research the virus, will find that it is a mean, nasty wolf in less mean, less nasty wolf's clothing.

              Let's do that little 5 minutes of research for you here Mr. Evans, since you couldn't be bothered to do so. First off, let's visit http://symantec.com. Symantec is the maker of Norton Anti-virus software, and my personal choice in anti-virus protection. I'll save you the clicking on the links and provide you with a direct link to my source here:

              http://securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter/venc /data/w32.mydoom.a@mm.html

              Now, let's see exactly what the myDoom virus does. This will take the vast amount of research time and effort of reading three paragraphs and one short sentence before jumping to conclusions.

              QUOTE FROM SYMANTEC:
              W32.Mydoom.A@mm (also known as W32.Novarg.A) is a mass-mailing worm that arrives as an attachment with the file extension .bat, .cmd, .exe, .pif, .scr, or .zip.

              When a computer is infected, the worm sets up a backdoor into the system by opening TCP ports 3127 through 3198, which can potentially allow an attacker to connect to the computer and use it as a proxy to gain access to its network resources.

              In addition, the backdoor can download and execute arbitrary files.

              There is a 25% chance that a computer infected by the worm will perform a Denial of Service (DoS) on February 1, 2004 starting at 16:09:18 UTC, which is also the same as 08:09:18 PST, based on the machine's local system date/time. If the worm does start the DoS attack, it will not mass mail itself. It also has a trigger date to stop spreading/DoS-attacking on February 12, 2004. While the worm will stop on February 12, 2004, the backdoor component will continue to function after this date. - END QUOTE

              Ok, first off, let's see what the real purpose is here, since you seem convinced that the purpose is to attack SCO. One in four infected machines will participate in a DDoS attack on SCO, and those that are infected and set to participate, will in fact cease spreading the virus to other computers (probably in an attempt to appear uninfected as anti-virus programs are updated.) But, that means that 75% of the infected machines will have a whole different purpose to their infection. One, to spread as far and as fast as possible, and Two, to make the machine what is commonly called a "zombie box" for the worm writers true intentions down the road. Both the 75% that do not participate in the DDoS and the 25% that do will be in the same boat after February 12, 2004. They will cease spreading, and attacking, yet will remain active "zombie boxes" for other uses.

              Ok, let's give you some background, since obviously you don't, like me, deal with computer security and worms/viruses on a daily basis. The vast majority of computer worms in the past year or so have had the primary purpose not of destroying data, not of being destructive, but in spreading and creating a vast network of "zombie boxes" for the purpose of launching more and more unsolicited commercial e-mail, commonly known as SPAM. For an example, look at the rapidly spreading sobig and its variants.
              Ref: http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1105-1020963.html?tag=nl

              Something these worms/viruses have had in common is the fact that they
          • by arivanov (12034) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @08:06AM (#8188008) Homepage
            Well...

            All you needed to do is point them to the securityfocus information and the kasperski press releases that clearly state that

            1. The virus was posted via well known SPAM network used in counterfeight software peddling. This is also the reason why the infection went through the roof so fast (it got to too many people in too short time).

            2. The virus has generally been traced to russian SPAM gangs.

            It is nothing to do with linux, sco, msft. It is just business as usual.
          • by Ndr_Amigo (533266) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @08:33AM (#8188107)
            I would like to make a rather strong complaint regarding Stephen Evans's article "Linux cyber battle turns nasty", as featured as a front-page article on the 5th of Feburary.

            This article is presented as a factual piece, not an opinion column, and draws patently incorrect conclusions. Whilst the MyDoom virus does indeed target SCO and (in it's -B varient) Microsoft, the main payload of this virus is a spam gateway.

            As someone whos main source of income deeply involves computer security, I find it insulting that Mr. Evans has apparantly made no attempt to research the history of these forms of virii, nor has he apparantly contacted any reputable anti-virus company regarding it. Meanwhile he postulates claims such as "it [revenge] must be one of the theories at the top of any investigator's list", and "in the case of the MyDoom computer worm, the motivation seems clearer". I find it very bad reporting that these claims are made WITHOUT actually asking any of the investigators opinion of the virus. It is a widely expressed opinion (see 'references' at the end of this message) by these security professionals that the Denial of Service attack is the SECONDARY function of the virus, and not at all related to it's true purpose. A simple search on Google, let alone contacting even local London-based security firms such as mi2g, would easily prove how factually incorrect this article is. In fact, to be harsh, it is a downright lie against common knowledge and opinion.

            It is current common understanding in the anti-virus community that this virus is indeed designed specifically to facilitate commercial spammers, and that the inbuilt Denial of Service attack against SCO and Microsoft are a secondary effect and not intended as part of the original design.

            Current monitoring of activity through infected machines indicate that the spamming functionality appears to be used by a very organised group of individuals, indicating the virus was possibly contract-coded. Current belief holds that the Denial of Service payload was added by said contracted coder.

            As such, I do not belief it fair, nor good reporting, to use a proproted factual article to attribute the secondary (and in my opinion far easily avoidable!) of the virus as it's "purpose". The secondary effects may indeed by the result of a Linux user seeking revenge, but is currently understood to be more of a diversion from the viruses demonstratable true intent. There is a long tradition of this type of 'smoke screen' in many viruses intended for commercial benefit, as Mr. Evans would no doubt have discovered if he had researched the article more instead of using it as a pure propeganda platform and drawing unconfirmed conclusions.

            I request that the article either be re-labeled as an OPINION piece, removed, or an more factually correct article be posted.

            References:
            These other news sites, containing articles by researchers willing to do actual research, contain quotes from reputable security and virus research firms confirming the opinion above:

            http://thewhir.com/marketwatch/myd012704.cfm
            - Contains opinion by London-based firm mi2g

            http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4113278/
            - Contains quotes from researchers at well-known antivirus developer F-Secure and Symantec

            http://www.ajc.com/business/content/business/0104/ 28worm.html
            - Contains quotes from various other computer security researchers
            • by paiute (550198) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @10:03AM (#8188610)
              Great comments. Unfortunately, you made at least one error in punctuation and one error in spelling, just from my quick reading. I hate to be pedantic, but in this case and others it is worthwhile. Note to the community: When you write to the media, your audience is journalism/English majors who live in fear of the editor. They will pick out your stray incorrect use of its/it's and the occasional spelling/dyslexic typo, because those will stand out like beacons to them - like a clumsy line of code would stand out to you. So use spellcheck and reread what you have written carefully before hitting submit. In the end, your submission will carry more weight.

            • by uradu (10768) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @10:38AM (#8188946)
              And I find it pathetic that someone using words like "virii" and "postulates" insists on alternative spellings such as "apparantly" or "proproted" or "demonstratable". Your points are all very good, yet you're severely blunting them with your ignorant spelling. Remember, you're addressing the BBC, to whom BOTH content AND presentation matter equally, not some two-bit internet forum where members try to one-up each other in reforming English spelling. In fact, one could argue that to a stiff-upper-lip British institution like the BBC presentation matters almost more than content. You're merely confirming their stereotypes of and contempt for the geek community.
          • by Random BedHead Ed (602081) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @10:53AM (#8189126) Homepage Journal
            And here's another example:

            To whom it may concern,

            In the article "Linux cyber-battle turns nasty" Stephen Evans seems to suggest that the MyDoom worm was perpetrated by users of the GNU/Linux operating system, commonly called "Linux."

            In fact one of the article's section headings is "Wrath of the geeks." It might be more accurate for it to say "Wrath of the geek." As in the case of suicide bombers, a single person can cause a lot of damage, but that single person should not serve as an indication of the temperment of an entire group of people. The writer of the MyDoom worm might not be a Linux user at all. He or she might have used the DDOS (distributed denial-of-service) attack to cover other, real motives. Or the writer might be exactly what Mr. Evans suggests, and in that case would be disowned and condemned by other Linux users such as myself.

            In either case the sentiments of one person should never be used to draw conclusions about a group. This attack on SCO is counter-productive, not to mention morally wrong. Bruce Perens, a leader in the open source community, condemns the attacks and urges others to do the same. In his press release to this effect he also explains some of the reasons this virus may exist:

            http://perens.com/Articles/SCO/DOS/

            And these following articles indicate that the worm probably has ties to spammers:

            http://www.ajc.com/business/content/business/010 4/28worm.html
            http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/business/ 2376200

            Finally, this LinuxWorld article explains an investigation into the origins of the virus, which seem to be from an IP address in Russia, according to the Moscow Times:

            http://www.linuxworld.com/story/42125.htm

            The SCO suit against IBM, if successful for SCO, will not be enforceable in Russia, so why would a Linux user there care?

            Before suggesting that an entire community is made up of law-ignoring zealots it might be good to remember that one rogue can cause a lot of headaches, and also that it's important to do a little research before casting stones. I hope that the BBC will follow up this story with the counterpoints I have raised above.

            Regards,
            Ed Holden
            Medford, Massachusetts

      • by cozziewozzie (344246) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @06:58AM (#8187784)
        It's the slant that big media houses put on the stories. That's why you always hear about Muslim terrorists and Islamic extremists, and not about Christian, scientologist, Jewish, or any other type (although they certainly exist).

        That's why you hear about Linux communists, Linux hackers (crackers) and Linux virus writers. If they use Microsoft, then it's something else that made them do it. If they use Linux -- why, of course, Linux made them do it.
      • by reallocate (142797) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @09:02AM (#8188237)
        >>
        If you don't want viruses to spread, don't...


        Viruses don't appear spontaneously. They are spread, not created, by bad security. Someone has to write them and release them That's where to aim your wrath. Otherwise, you're blaming a shooting victim for not wearing a protective vest.

        All the BBC commentary (it isn't a news report) did was to make the rather obvious connection between a DoS attack on SCO and the more rabid zealots in the Linux community. This possibility occurred to everyone about 5 minutes after the story broke. Certainly, threats to DoS SCO are not uncommon here on /.

        Association of Linux and viruses in the public eye will spell its end.

    • by Goldberg's Pants (139800) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:35AM (#8187041) Journal
      What amuses me is the opening part.

      The MyDoom virus represents a new level of sophistication in attacks on company websites.

      How is it anymore sophisticated than the last 20 viruses down the pipe that DoS sites?

      Methinks SCO has a journo at the BBC bought and paid for...
      • by BuilderBob (661749) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @06:57AM (#8187776)

        I had the page loaded in the browser and blindly reloaded the page (not sure why), something changed!

        I'm not sure how much changed but the line you quoted is now

        The MyDoom virus has triggered a new wave of attacks on company websites.

        Apparently, it was last updated 10 hours ago, which is wrong by about 9 hours.

        The attack also raises the possibility of internet blackmail, with companies threatened by individuals or even an individual who might be anywhere.

        Say what now?

        BB

        • by Goldberg's Pants (139800) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @07:26AM (#8187876) Journal
          So now I guess the BBC have joined the ranks of CNN, Fox etc... Engaging in revisionist "news" reporting... Nasty...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:37AM (#8187054)
      BBC just sexed up this war on SCO....

    • by silentbozo (542534) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @05:04AM (#8187235) Journal
      Whoever modded the above comment flamebait should be ashamed. The BBC has historically been a good source of news, but has been roundly criticized in recent years for taking a more commercial (and, as some have indicated, sensationalist) slant to its coverage. The resignation of 3 BBC principals in the past few weeks are an indication what this new direction has cost the BBC.

      Fact of the matter is, where is the proof? The correspondent himself says "There's no proof, of course, but it must be one of the theories at the top of any investigator's list.", referring to the thesis of his article, that "The MyDoom virus represents a new level of sophistication in attacks on company websites. It is also a new front in a war waged by those who want to preserve the open-source Linux operating system."

      On one hand, he says there's no proof. On the other hand, the tagline accuses open source as the origination of the MyDoom worm, and slyly insinuates that the reason for this worm is revenge against SCO. This isn't investigative journalism. This isn't even biased reporting of somebody's opinion. This is rumor-mill gossip, and somebody ought to call the BBC on it.
      • by TheFrood (163934) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @06:44AM (#8187719) Homepage Journal
        Fact of the matter is, where is the proof? The correspondent himself says "There's no proof, of course, but it must be one of the theories at the top of any investigator's list.", referring to the thesis of his article, that "The MyDoom virus represents a new level of sophistication in attacks on company websites. It is also a new front in a war waged by those who want to preserve the open-source Linux operating system."

        At present, the opening line of the article reads "... It also looks like a new front in a war..." Assuming you're quoting accurately, someone at the BBC must have decided to tone the statement down a bit. It's still irresponsible journalism, though.

        TheFrood
      • by SenseiLeNoir (699164) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @08:00AM (#8187993)
        I have provided this comment to them in the feedback form they have provided. The BBC are good at listening to comments by the viewers/readers.

        ---

        This particular story is factually incorrect, and details contained within could be used inappropriatly.

        As it stands there is no evidence to prove that Linux users created this virus. Thats just consequential speculation.

        FACT 1: In fact all the major developers of the Linux Kernal and the wider Opensource/Free Software movement have been very quick to condemn the actions of the Virus writer and have gone on record to disassociate themselves from the actions of the writer. This invalidates the implication in the report saying that Linux Developer

        FACT 2: The major antivirus vendors and security have formed the conclusion the attack on SCO and Microsoft were most likely a "smokescreen". The main purpose of the virus is that of a Trojan for stealing credit card, and other security info.The attacks on SCO appears to be a topical divertion.

        FACT 3: Open Source advocates to not believe all software should be "free" as in free in price. It advocates freedom in development, and access to code. It works on the belief that software will be of higher quality if the development is open allowing anyone access to the code in the help for fixing bugs and adding features. The software itself can be "charged for". It is the difference between free in price, and free in freedom.

        FACT 4: Open source advocates are NOT activists on a par with terrorists, etc as your report suggests. Open source advocates act on their principles by creating software that follows their ideals, such as the Linux Kernel, the GNU system, the Apache webserver (used by the BBC), Mozilla Web Browser (used by AOL and Netscape), Sendmail (used to deliver the majority of internet email), the BIND server (used to resolve DNS names, vital for operation of the Internet).

        FACT 5: the implication that Linux developers are teenage geeks working in garages is also incorrect. Sure it started as a enthusiasts Operating System, however currently developers and contributers to Linux now include major firms such as, IBM, HP, Silicon Graphics, NASA, Oracle, Samsung, and even SCO.

        Please read the GrokLaw website at http://www.groklaw.net/ which assists in making clear the legal and historical contexts of Linux, as well as the hidden danger of publishing misguided articles like this.

        Best Regards,
    • by Albanach (527650) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @06:00AM (#8187512) Homepage
      Complaints to the BBC can be sent to:

      newsonline.complaints@bbc.co.uk [mailto]

    • by doomy (7461) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @06:43AM (#8187714) Homepage Journal
      Well, I would not go so far as to judge BBC based on this report by Stephen Evans. Wait out and see what happens. This is not the first time Mr. Evans has tainted a community in order to paint his finaincal backers in a better light.

      Here is a piece that comes from Lessig and was found in Free Sklyarov mailing list [xenoclast.org].


      Wednesday, and the BBC Today programme's Stephen Evans files
      a shock exclusive revealing how European politicians pirated
      popular music - by refusing to raise the duration of copyright
      beyond fifty years. The piece, a barely concealed plug for
      EMI's attempts to get Euro copyright limits upped to the 95
      years of the recent US, was shocking and exclusive only in
      the sense of being shockingly exclusive to one side of the
      story. Evans, most famous for being that BBC correspondent
      in the WTC on September 11th, commiserated with EMI that
      their hard-earned 1950s properties might be finally be
      free for everyone to enjoy via the criminal practices of the
      public domain and European law. "Why should companies invest
      big money now to record the classics of tomorrow if they
      *can't keep the profits they make*?" he pondered. Even
      Laughing Larry Lessig - prompted by the righteous hordes of
      the Brass Eye mailing list - chipped in to marvel at the
      bias of the show. You'd think that the Todayians would know
      that there might be at least some controversy on the topic -
      especially when their own higher-ups are talking to Lessig
      about reforming the BBC's own copyrights to be a bit more
      public domain friendly. Less of the nation speaking unto nation:
      maybe the BBC's left hand could have a word with the right?
  • They got it wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mork29 (682855) <keith.yelnick@us ... l minus language> on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:32AM (#8187021) Journal
    who believe that code should be free to all

    We just believe that GPL code should STAY free for all like it was when it was published under the GPL. I know such an idea could come only from a zealot... but hey....
    • by NanoGator (522640) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:48AM (#8187131) Homepage Journal
      "I know such an idea could come only from a zealot... but hey...."

      That's not what they tuned in to. It's the comments like "I might just let this virus do its work..." that led to that conclusion. If you 'non-zealots' don't want to have the finger pointed in your direction , then I would strongly recommend treating this case with more objectivity instead of cracking anti-SCO comments.
    • Re:They got it wrong (Score:4, Interesting)

      by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy@nosPam.gmail.com> on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:58AM (#8187199)
      We just believe that GPL code should STAY free for all like it was when it was published under the GPL.

      No, you obviously don't, because if that's all you believed you'd release your code under the BSD licence, or simply into the public domain - both of which would do just as good a job at it.

      The point of releasing under the GPL is to require other people using GPLed code as a base to develop and distribute their own work to also GPL *their* code. It has nothing whatsoever to do with "preserving the freedom" of *your* code.

      • by horza (87255) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @08:46AM (#8188147) Homepage
        No, you obviously don't, because if that's all you believed you'd release your code under the BSD licence, or simply into the public domain - both of which would do just as good a job at it.

        The point of releasing under the GPL is to require other people using GPLed code as a base to develop and distribute their own work to also GPL *their* code. It has nothing whatsoever to do with "preserving the freedom" of *your* code.


        Both of you are correct imho. The GPL is not there to make code free, it's there to protect the intellectual property of the author. It prevents code from being stolen from the author and used commercially without compensating its author.

        The original poster was correct in that GPL advocates don't want to make software free, ie force everyone to relinquish their code to the GPL, they use the GPL to make sure their code will always be free to all to use under the condition they are happy with (take it but in return I want you to share your modifications so we all benefit).

        drsmithy has a point that the original poster fell into the trap that the dubious BBC article laid in suggesting the GPL is simply only about code being free, which it's not.

        Phillip.
  • Complain (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 26199 (577806) * on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:33AM (#8187027) Homepage

    Click 'feedback' at the bottom of the page, fill in the article URL, and explain why this really isn't on.

    Keep it civil, folks, and with any luck we can get an apology or at least a retraction.

    • Re:Complain (Score:5, Funny)

      by kinnell (607819) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:41AM (#8187078)
      Keep it civil, folks

      Screw that! Someone write a mydoom variant which targets the BBC. That'll teach them to bad mouth linux zealots.

      • Re:Complain (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Rico_za (702279) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @05:18AM (#8187310)
        My feedback to the BBC:

        I'm not a Linux zealot, I don't even use Linux, but I have been following the SCO vs. Linux story for a while now. The article "Linux cyber-battle turns nasty" is far below the high journalistic standards the BBC have set in the past. It contains nothing but bad conclusions without any basis in fact. The fact of the matter is that most computer security experts think exactly the opposite of what is stated in the article: That the MyDoom virus was written by email spammers testing out virus technology to use in future spamming. It is very convenient for the virus writer that the Linux community is blamed for the virus. Simple research on the internet reveals many sources backing this (http://www.ajc.com/business/content/business/0104 /28worm.html and http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/business/ 2376200).

        Please don't let the high quality of factual reporting by the BBC revert to tabloid sensationalism.
    • Re:Complain (Score:5, Interesting)

      by q.kontinuum (676242) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:57AM (#8187187)
      I wrote some feedback:

      >>>>>>>>>>
      There are several points completele missed in this article. Evidence for my claims is given by the links mentioned below.

      1) The main function of the worm is not to attack SCO Servers but to turn the infected desctop into a remote controlled robot with a keylogger.

      2) The worm is _very_ likely not written by a private person in his freetime but by the russian Spam mafia wich needs those remotely controlled desktops as mail-relays to send spam.

      3) The big majority of the Linux-Community does not think at all that all Software (or even all Operating Systems) have to remain free. They just expect that a license applied to a software is to be honored. This claim should be valid for any license, even the GPL.

      http://www.ajc.com/business/content/business/010 4/ 28worm.html
      http://www.messagelabs.com/news/virus news/detail/d efault.asp?contentItemId=733&region=america

      For more evidence about the complete voidness of SCOs IP-Claims information is gahtered at

      http://www.groklaw.net

      All information there is elaborated and with information where the source of the information is.

      regards

      PS: I'm a progammer earning my money with closed source. That does not hinder me to be a fan of Open Source products and to publish something once in a while.

      Hope, it was politely enough and the spelling ok. I'm a native German, was never very well in foreign languages.
      • Re:Complain (Score:5, Interesting)

        by AJC1973 (733667) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @05:44AM (#8187434)
        I've also complained - text below

        ------
        Dear BBC,
        Your story "Linux cyber-battle turns nasty" by Stephen Evans has caused me to write in to point out a number of issues with both the tone of the story and the "facts" portrayed by it.

        Firstly, Mr Evans has stated that the virus was unleashed by Linux advocates to damage SCO. He has stated this as a fact, not an allegation. The MyDoom virus has, in fact, been traced back to Russia and is believed to be the work of organised crime. Most reputable news sources have reported this and it saddens me that the BBC, which I have always believed to be one of the best news sources, has fallen down badly in this respect, reporting an unsubstantiated allegation (which was easily checked) as fact.

        He also states the virus is written specifically to take down SCO's servers. It is not. It appears designed to turn desktops into remote controlled robots that log keystrokes (such as credit card details) and act as spam relays. Thus it would be of great use to organised crime.

        He further states that "internet zealots ... believe that code should be free to all (open source)." They do not. "Open source" means that the source code may be viewed. It does not mean that it is free. It can be checked worldwide and modified (under license) as needed by individuals, corporations and countries.

        Overall, the story appears to be slanted unquestioningly against the Open Source community, accepting allegations as facts and ignoring available contradictory evidence. Could you explain why this line has been taken?

        It does seem to me to fall well short of the BBC's standards of reporting. It also fails to highlight the largest concern that may affect your readers - the fact that the virus turns their machines into remote controlled traitors, logging their keystrokes (and jeopardising their privacy and any banking details) and relaying illegal spam. A reference to the story of the Dorset father who lost custody of his daughter after a similar trojan deposited child pornography on his computer, acting as a safe remote storage site from a technologically skilled pervert, would not have gone amiss here , to highlight the severity of the case and remind your readers to take care online.

        For information on SCO's IP claims against Linux, please see www.groklaw.net.

    • Re:Complain (Score:5, Insightful)

      by welshwaterloo (740554) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @05:03AM (#8187229)
      sent this:

      Hi

      This is in relation to the story "Linux cyber-battle turns nasty."

      The is telling people who read the Business section that:

      "run-of-the-mill geeks" are "wreak[ing] damage on the unsuspecting computer user."

      There is no evidence that this has been coded by 'geeks', Linux or otherwise. Most reputable IT news sources are agreed that the main aim of the virus is to install a 'backdoor' to allow spam to be sent through the PC. This means the virus is *much* more likely to have been written by (or partly sponsered by) organized crime.

      It's not mentioned once in the article that the virus opens a back door to allow the PC to be remotely controlled. Is this perhaps because it doesn't fit in with the way the article was crafted..?

      "in the case of the MyDoom computer worm, the motivation seems clearer. It has attacked a company based in Utah called SCO, bringing down its website with a barrage of emails sent from countless computers" Good lord - if you're going to do a tech story, get a techie to read over the damn thing before you hit 'send'. The attack was *not* carried out using emails. How would you address an email to a website? It was a DDOS attack. Two words - Goo gle. Is is a silly point? Perhaps but when the BBC is writing about computer viruses I tend to expect them to do the tiniest bit of research.

      I use Linux, and I think it's aims are noble. I am insulted that this lazy article tars Linux users with these baseless insinuations I ask that you withdraw the article and/or print a retraction.

    • Re:Complain (Score:5, Insightful)

      by menscher (597856) <[ude.cuiu] [ta] [todhsals+rehcsnem]> on Thursday February 05, 2004 @05:08AM (#8187252) Homepage Journal
      My complaint (submitted to BBC):

      I'm disappointed by the errors included in the article by Stephen Evans on the MyDoom virus. His statements regarding the intents of the virus creators are treated through most of the article, except in a minor comment near the end, as statements of fact. This is improper, as Stephen could not possibly know the intent.

      There are also some blatant factual errors. For example, Stephen writes "[i]t has attacked a company based in Utah called SCO, bringing down its website with a barrage of emails...." This statement is false. The virus attacks the SCO webserver, as is noted later in the article (self consistency was not even maintained).

      Finally, the article closes with the statement "[i]t is about malice not money." This is also widely regarded, among the computer security community, to be untrue. The article failed to mention that the virus creates a backdoor on infected machines that can be used to relay spam. The virus appears to have been written by for the purpose of helping spammers. The DoS (denial of service) attack on SCO appears to have been added later, almost as an afterthought, as a way of distracting the news media from the more insidious threat. It is unfortunate that it seems to have succeeded in that goal.

      Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about my statements. I have not included references since this is fairly easy to confirm by visiting any reputable security site. I especially recommend reading the comments of the "incidents" list at www.securityfocus.com to see what experts are saying about the relative importance of the "spam relay" part of the worm to the "attack SCO" part.

      It concerns me, when I recognize such blatant reporting errors, that I cannot trust the other articles originating from your site. I hope that this will be an isolated incident.
      • Re:Complain (Score:5, Informative)

        by fucksl4shd0t (630000) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @05:49AM (#8187461) Homepage Journal

        I used yours as a model and wrote my own additions, corrections, and so forth around yours because I liked yours very much. :)

        Here's mine:

        I'm disappointed by the errors included in the article by Stephen Evans on the MyDoom virus. His article is nothing more than tabloid reporting conspiracy theories. If it had been offered as an 'opinion' or 'editorial', then maybe it would have been more appropriate. But his statements regarding the intents of the virus creators are treated through most of the article as statements of fact. This is improper, as Stephen could not possibly know the intent. It is also a false conclusion, due to the fact that there are many websites discussing the MyDoom virus and the reason it is dangerous is because it opens a backdoor on the user's computer through which spam is being relayed.

        There are also some blatant factual errors. For example, Stephen writes "[i]t has attacked a company based in Utah called SCO, bringing down its website with a barrage of emails...." This statement is false, and only a very introductory knowledge of internet would protocols is needed to disprove and discredit this statement. The only way a website could be taken down by a barrage of emails is if the email host and the web host are the same machine. This is a known Bad Practice, and people who install networks in that fashion frequently get fired.

        Finally, the article closes with the statement "[i]t is about malice not money." This is also widely regarded, among the computer security community, to be untrue. Considering the actions and statements of SCO executives, it seems more likely to me that SCO is behaving in a malicious fashion. Ever since they filed suit against IBM claiming ownership of thousands of people's work, SCO has gone off an a tirade every time someone has attacked them in any form, including the many open letters written to SCO by members and leaders of the community. This childlike behavior should not be rewarded by a "reputable" news source such as the BBC.

        The article failed to mention that the virus creates a backdoor on infected machines that can be used to relay spam. The virus appears to have been written by for the purpose of helping spammers. The DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack on SCO appears to have been added later, almost as an afterthought, as a way of distracting the news media from the more insidious threat. It is unfortunate that it seems to have succeeded in that goal.

        Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about my statements. I recommend especially reading the comments of the "incidents" list at www.securityfocus.com to see what experts are saying about the relative importance of the "spam relay" part of the worm to the "attack SCO" part.

        It concerns me that an article with such wildly drawn conclusions is to be treated as containing integrity, accuracy, and above all reporting the facts. Mr. Evens could have easily written an article with just as much "fact" as this one stating that SCO developed the MyDoom worm in-house, since they have been trying to try their court case in the press ever since they filed it. With slightly more fact than is included in this article, Mr. Evens could have claimed Microsoft wrote the MyDoom worm in order to support their ally against Linux, SCO. But all of these crazy theories dissolve when you examine the true purpose of the worm, which is to relay spam. This SCO business with the worm is obviously just a smokescreen, and it certainly wouldn't have taken *that many* brain cells to determine this minor detail, and this minor detail completely undermines the entire article.

        Thanks!

  • by rabbit994 (686936) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:33AM (#8187029)
    From the article:

    It has attacked a company based in Utah called SCO, bringing down its website with a barrage of emails sent from countless computers into which the worm had been insinuated, unbeknownst to the users.

    It was HTTP GET requests. Problem is most PHB listen to people like him but they can't even get the freaking details right on small shit like that. Yes they were probably hit bad with MyDoom email viruses but so my 6 user server. HTTP GET DDOS was targeted at them but that has been zero proof of a Linux Zealot targeting them. Let me know when you get evidence not just some speculation.

    • Well, i bet most people who reads that article doesn't know the difference between http and mail.. "Oh, yeah, mail, i can do that on a website!" -- typical hotmail user
    • by csk_1975 (721546) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @06:02AM (#8187524)
      Wow, what an article, it brings journalistic research and factual accuracy to new lows with some baseless assertions thrown in for good measure. I thought the BBC just got spanked over poor journalism.

      Factual Errors:-

      1. "bringing down its website with a barrage of emails"

      The MyDoom virus used a barrage of HTTP requests to bring the www.sco.com website down. Websites and mail systems are different, they use different protocols, ports and servers. The virus spread by email, it *did not* use email to perform a DDOS on www.sco.com.

      2. "Two years ago, SCO claimed that it owned more than 800,000 lines of the system which had always been available for free and to anyone since its invention in 1991."

      This is actually a few errors in one, bravo!

      "Two years ago" - This is incorrect, SCO first claimed that Linux contained improperly contributed Unix code in early 2003, this is not two years ago! At that time it did not claim "more than 800,000 lines" that came later.

      "...claimed 800,000" - SCO expanded its PR claims in mid 2003 to include the "more than 800,000 lines" quote. This is only 6-7 months ago, not two years ago.

      "since 1991" - SCO has claimed that contributions to the Linux kernel post v2.4 impinge on its rights - this is not the code from 1991. It has not yet claimed rights to any of the 1991 code!

      3. "On top of that, SCO has sued IBM, accusing it of using SCO property because it too uses Linux."

      SCO has sued IBM over a contract dispute, it has not sued IBM because it uses Linux! SCO has claimed that IBM has used Unix methods and trade secrets improperly in its contributions to Linux (SCO claims it is a succesor in interest to Unix copyrights, methods and trade secrets which Novell sold to Tarantella - this is also in dispute).

      4. "Despite the law-suits against users by SCO,"

      SCO has not sued any Linux users. It has sued IBM, it has been counter sued by IBM, Red Hat has sued SCO, SCO has sued Novell. At no time has SCO sued a Linux user.

      5. "Meanwhile the court dispute between SCO and Linux users (rather than the cyberspace war between SCO and the hackers) is scheduled for next year in a court in Utah."

      There is no court dispute between SCO and Linux users (see above).

      So most of the article is factually incorrect, and then he casts baseless assertions with a follow up disclaimer.

      "There seems little doubt that SCO was targeted - illegally and unacceptably, lest anyone be in any doubt - because it has enraged many people devoted to the Linux operating system"

      "There's no proof, of course, but it must be one of the theories at the top of any investigator's list."

      What sort of journalism is this? This should be in a crappy tabloid not a government owned and respected news service.
    • by mpk (10222) <mpk@uffish.net> on Thursday February 05, 2004 @07:29AM (#8187884) Homepage
      I don't know if anyone bothered reading anything other than the pull-quotes before getting all huffy, or indeed if the story's been changed since release, but in the next paragraph it goes on to clearly say that there's no proof.

      Additionally, it goes on further to say how well Linux has been doing recently in the server market.

      Anyone who thinks that there is *no* possibility of *any* link between some Linux zealot with a screw loose and a grudge against SCO and MyDoom is in denial. It's one of many theories, but it's certainly a plausible theory.
  • I e-mailed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SkArcher (676201) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:33AM (#8187031) Journal
    As soon as I saw the story - Please, for the love of whichever god you happen to believe in and/or live in fear of, be polite and give them references - the guy that wrote this article is obviously living stateside and Darl must have corrupted him.
  • by Max Romantschuk (132276) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:33AM (#8187032) Homepage
    There's not much one can do about stuff like this. The media wants a story, they'll be happy to distort reality in order to get one.

    The most important thing is to let people know we don't approve of the actions taken by creators of these viree. Not by shouting about it, but telling people, calmly, whenever given the chance. Tell your neighbour's dog walker if he/she will listen.

    Fortunately popular belief does not rule (most) legal systems.
    • by rjelks (635588) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:42AM (#8187085) Homepage
      After all of the SCO FUD, I'm not suprised so many people were taking enjoyment out of SCO's misfortune. Unfortunatly, people are looking for someone to blame and this does make for a good story. I've seen slashdot members' comments quoted on stories about this virus, so people are looking here for a response. I know it's been talked about before, but here [perens.com] is Bruce Perens letter to the OSS community again. Everyone's certainly entitled to their opinions, but he makes a good point.
  • by PatrickThomson (712694) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:34AM (#8187033)
    Don't they know what happens when you incur the wrath of linux users?
  • by azulza (651826) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:35AM (#8187037)
    If the virus were written by Linux coders it woulndn't have failed so badly when it triggered. The poorly written code has to have been written by someone with intimite knowledge of poor coding skills and Microsoft vulnerabilities... Humm... Do I smell a disgruntled MS employee?
  • by dbirchall (191839) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:36AM (#8187048) Journal
    Generally when something bad happens, you do try to figure out who might have made it happen. There are "usual suspects" for a lot of things. And "people who dislike or are mad at the victim of this particular thing" tends to be part of that set...

    However, there's also the matter of a modus operandi. While the Linux community certainly doesn't like SCO or Microsoft, its members aren't particularly known for writing virus code. In fact, writing Windows virus code would probably require greater... intimacy with Windows than most users of other operating systems would ever want to have.

    My guess is that it's either a rogue coder or a coder in the employ of somebody (spammers are "the usual suspects" for employing virus writers lately, but why attack Microsoft and SCO, then?) who's probably using, and used to coding for, Windows. That's far more logical.

  • New to you (Score:5, Funny)

    by MachDelta (704883) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:36AM (#8187049)
    It represents a new degree of viciousness in internet warfare: a wickedly ingenious programme persuades thousands of computers to bombard a single website on a particular date.
    Say what? Hasn't /. been doing this for years already?
  • by circletimessquare (444983) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [erauqssemitelcric]> on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:36AM (#8187050) Homepage Journal
    there are two elements of understanding any issue in the news

    there is an informed, fair and balanced view

    then there is the 15 second layman appraisal from viewing bits of media coverage

    clearly, mydoom is an attack by linux zealots in the mind of the average layman

    clearly, the truth is linux advocates are horrified at what this script kiddie has done

    however, the court of public opinion is 99% of the population and the court of computer scientists is 1% of the population

    if we have learned anything about wmd and iraq, the court of public opion matters alot, while the microscopic court of the informed matters very little

    so what is mydoom all about? angry linux zealots

    scream about how it is not so on slashdot, the turth is mydoom is the work of script kiddies, we all know that, but you are preaching to the choir

    in the court of public opinion what mydoom is is very clear, and the informed on the issue can do very little about it
  • by segment (695309) <sil.politrix@org> on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:37AM (#8187053) Homepage Journal
    You know I wrote something along these lines a while back. (Breaking Point [politrix.org]) Not this scenario exactly, but how easy it would be to digitally frame someone online. It's a shame things are getting out of hand. Maybe I should take some time write the document correctly (formatting, spelling) and make a request for comments from others in the community and make some little "READ ME" for people who don't understand tech too much. I know BBC would have probably taken a different look if they knew enough about computing to understand how easy it is to pass off something as someone else on the net.

  • by Grrr (16449) <cgrrr@grrAUDENr.net minus poet> on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:38AM (#8187057) Homepage Journal
    Here's what immediately follows that last quote...

    So, it seems likely that the perpetrators of the MyDoom virus and its variants are internet vandals with a specific grudge. SCO is the big, bad company that violates one of their sacred principles, as they would see it.

    There's no proof, of course, but it must be one of the theories at the top of any investigator's list.


    And this is from a organization which allegedly deals in "news" ?

    <grrr>
  • Just in... (Score:5, Funny)

    by efextra (673412) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:39AM (#8187065) Homepage
    A new version of MyDoom has been found that is targetting bbc.co.uk
  • A Good Sign? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RandomLinguist (712026) <onelinguist@gSLA ... com minus distro> on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:42AM (#8187086) Homepage
    I would argue that this violent reactionism is one sign that OSS is on the verge of mainstream acceptance. Throughout history, as new ideas have supplanted older, closely held ones, the group that holds fast to those practices and principles becomes more and more marginalized and reacts by lashing out viciously. Could this be the case here? I think it is. Hopefully these opposing voices will continue to get smaller and more violent, alienating even more people from their cause. Besides, who can argue with free publicity?

    Also, I, being a 'run-of-the-mill geek', am quite flattered that I now have the ability to gleefully (and apparently psychotically) 'wreak damage' on people's computers. Guess I picked that up and didn't even realize...
    [BBC: "Deep in the darkness of the psyche, vandals and arsonists no doubt have their reasons - and so, presumably, do the run-of-the-mill geeks who wreak damage on the unsuspecting computer user."]
  • by p_millipede (714918) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:43AM (#8187099)
    Just after the quote given, the article goes on with:
    There's no proof, of course, but it must be one of the theories at the top of any investigator's list.

    So, the BBC aren't actually saying that Linux users are behind it. They're saying that it is a theory that many people give weight to!

    • by windside (112784) <pmjboyle@gCOBOLmail.com minus language> on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:58AM (#8187198)

      Although you're right, the journalist has buried the "no proof" statement deep in the article after making countless statements that do affirmatively link MyDoom to Linux (including the subtitle of the article).

      I have a lot of respect for the BBC as a news source, but this is a fine example of poor, lazy journalism. Considering the fact that scores of readers don't make it past the first few paragraphs of any given article, it's also deceitful and misleading.

  • by mind21_98 (18647) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:44AM (#8187106) Homepage Journal
    Why can't we just all get along? I'm serious. The actions of the MyDoom creators are not indicitive of the actions or opinions of the rest of the community. To say otherwise would be the same as being what you're against. I would have expected better from the BBC, but whatever.
  • by nsuttitinagul (318095) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:45AM (#8187109) Homepage
    "For good measure, SCO is seeking at least a billion dollars from IBM....

    SCO is the big, bad company that violates one of their sacred principles, as they would see it."

    I don't think this article sees very much of the issue. Why didn't they do a more serious analysis of SCO and the fact that many top executives are dumping stock? Why didn't they look at it from a legal standpoint focusing on the etymology of the code supposedly in question? Why didn't they point out keenly that SCO has not produced any real evidence?

    Regardless of what side you're on, you have to look at these things. These facts at least are concrete, vs. the complete lack of evidence specifically implicating a linux user as the author of MyDoom. For all we know, it could be SCO spreading FUD over linux and painting themselves as the victim when they in fact are responsible. We don't know now, do we?
  • Blackmail (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MikeD83 (529104) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:46AM (#8187114)
    Directly from the article:

    The attack also raises the possibility of internet blackmail, with companies threatened by individuals or even an individual who might be anywhere.This attack, though, is not blackmail. It is about malice not money.

    Perhaps the MyDoom virus was written to blackmail the Linux community? Without knowing the author how could you establish if it is indeed malice by an over zealous Linux user?
    This article wreaks of sensationalism from a writer who sounds like he's on SCO's payroll. Shame on the BBC.
  • by tinla (120858) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:46AM (#8187116) Homepage Journal
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/help/3281777.stm [bbc.co.uk]

    The bbc accepts feedback on stories. It is worth letting them know that there is no evidence to suggest the involvement of members of the linux community, they may be involved or they may be a handy group to frame. If this wasn't 'scary computers viruses' the media would be be more sceptical of the obvious conclusion.
  • by nil5 (538942) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:48AM (#8187126) Homepage
    I have linked MyDoom to SCO and Microsoft as well.

    I have also linked Saddam Hussein to Iraq and the BBC to Great Britain.

    I am very good at linking.
  • by Advocadus Diaboli (323784) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:52AM (#8187152)
    Since there is no source code published under the GPL yet I don't believe that Mydoom was created by Linux programmers. It looks more like a closed source work.
  • by Saint Stephen (19450) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:53AM (#8187155) Homepage Journal
    Not a troll, but try to remember the inverse of the statement "All Linux Users are responsible for the MyDoom virus" is not "No Linux User is responsible for the MyDoom virus". The validity of the statement "The MyDoom virus author is a Linux User" is not verified -- but drawing any sort of Universal conclusion (affirmatively or negatively) is not valid reasoning.
  • by _Hellfire_ (170113) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @04:55AM (#8187174) Homepage
    I'm a little confused. The BBC website has this in the news section. Now I've always understood news to be the (hopefully) unbiased reporting of facts. The "article" seems little more than the rambling musings of someone who clearly doesn't understand the situation at all - which ordinarily would put it under "editorials".

    This sort of baseless conjecture should always be clearly marked as such. To pass this off as "news" smacks of the kind of wild sensationalism the BBC is world famous for.
  • by NiteHaqr (29663) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @05:05AM (#8187241) Homepage
    Over at Userfriendly.org

    http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=2004020 5

  • by clickety6 (141178) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @05:22AM (#8187322)

    Note the "Business" part. The guy has absolutley zero techno savvy and is just parroting the most juicy rumours.

    Although, after the Hutton reporty, I am suprised that the BBC would let him get away with statements such as "There's no proof, of course". But I guess as Linux users aren't a particularly organised bunch the BBC feels it can get away with shoddy journalism and unsupported inuendo in this case.
  • by mav[LAG] (31387) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @06:57AM (#8187772)
    Linux cyber-battle turns nasty

    By Stephen Evans
    BBC North America Business Correspondent

    The MyDoom virus has triggered a new wave of attacks from lazy business journalists. It is also looks like a new front [sic] in a war waged by those who want to argue from facts and those who just make up anything that comes into their heads.

    It's usually no easier to fathom the motives of virus creators than it is of any other perpetrator of damage for damage's sake. But I'm going to be clever and subtly equate their motives with normal geeks in the first paragraph just to prepare the ground for you. There - done.

    In the case of the MyDoom computer worm, the motivation seems clearer. This is a good point and I'll ignore the alarm bells it rings, since I've just said how most virus writers' work is baffling to explain. Then I'll introduce SCO as the victim and assert that the perpetrator was someone devoted to the Linux operating system.

    The a quick paragraph on the history of the case which gets almost all major facts wrong followed by an entire section drawn on the very shaky premise that it must have been a geek Linux internet zealot who believes that code should be free to all. A few pointed jabs at Linux users later and I'll quickly admit that there is no proof of any of this, but that my (and of course your) conclusions should be clear.

    My conclusion is just as lazy. A nice section of speculation and poor research to finish off - with all the usual trigger phrases like "experts are pondering", "possibility", "might", and "internet blackmail."

    By now you can guess that I am an utter moron, with no more qualifications to be a business correspondent than a piece of cheese.
  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @07:08AM (#8187819)
    Dear Sir Or Madam

    As a license payer, I have always been happy that the BBC, to the best of its ability, maintains a high quality, unbiased news service.

    However, as a Linux user, I am thoroughly appalled at the comments made by Stephen Evans in his article "Linux cyber-battle turns nasty" (URL below).

    Mr Evans seems to imply that anyone who chooses to maintain his right to open Internet protocols and open data standards by using the free Linux operating system is, in fact, a malicious criminal.

    While I accept that there are possibly a very small percentage of "cracker" activists within the Linux community who might be extreme enough to launch DDoS (Distributed Denial Of Service) attacks against SCO and Microsoft via the MyDoom virus, Mr Evans has demonstrated how little he knows about the topic he has chosen to discuss in his article.

    Firstly, writing a virus is no easy task and an irresponsible programmer that chooses to create a new virus needs to have a very deep understanding of the inherent weaknesses in the application or operating system that the virus is intended to propagate through. Since the MyDoom virus spreads via Microsoft Windows & Outlook, it is therefore safe to assume that the creator is an expert Windows programmer.

    Secondly, the Linux community is made of knowledgeable computer users who have chosen to use a free operating system rather than the majority choice, Microsoft Windows. Each member of the community has his/her own reasons for making this choice but, essentially, those reasons are encompassed in the following list:

    1) Microsoft and other commercial vendors have quite clearly demonstrated support for a rental license model for their software such that, in future, their userbase will be forced to make regular payments to those vendors for continued use of their operating systems and applications.
    The Open Source movement, which incorporates Linux as one of its "flagship" products (others being free Unix-type operating systems of the BSD family) believes that software can be created freely and handed out to the community to use and improve freely. This movement has grown despite Microsoft and continues to do so, thus demonstrating there is no need to wage some (non-existent) "war" against commercial software vendors.

    2) Some commercial hardware and software vendors (including Intel and Microsoft) are keen to implement DRM (Digital Rights Management) technologies in their existing and future platforms. The purpose of DRM is to create hardware and operating system combination platforms that "decide" whether or not a particular application or piece of data can be run or used on that platform. These vendors have chosen to do this not for any concerns of security of their users but because this allows them to license this technology, at cost, to other vendors and their userbase while, at the same time, allowing them to cover up security weaknesses in their own products. The only people that will lose out with DRM are the users who will find that they no longer have the "fair use" of music CDs, DVDs and software that they previously enjoyed to create MP3s/MPEGs of CDs/DVDs they own for portable players, personal backups, etc.
    The Linux community defends the right of any commercial enterprise to combat piracy and loss of revenue but not through DRM technologies that restrict the basic rights of all users, not just the criminals, from having fair use of products they legitimately own. Linux will never support DRM technology and Linux users can therefore guarantee themselves a future whereby they maintain responsibility for their dats, not some commercial enterprise.

    3) Virus attacks via Microsoft Windows are reported in the media on a weekly basis yet I do not recall a Linux virus ever gaining media attention.
    Whilst I would not define Linux as totally secure, the open source model and regular peer code review of open source applications means that security bugs are detected & fixed very quickly. Added to this tha
  • by GnuDiff (705847) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @07:24AM (#8187870) Journal
    If we take a look at the virus and some of the things it has caused from a specific standpoint - reputations:
    1. SCO website down - does it hurt their business? I guess not much, however, it does give them good publicity - that of a victim; Link #1 for Linux (Linuxoid SCO haters).
    2. Microsoft website targeted but not down -- good publicity for Microsoft; Link #2 for Linux (Linuxoid MS haters).
    3. Millions of losses and aggravated users - extremely bad publicity for the virus and people associated with it, of course;
    So, the net effect of the virus has certainly hurt the reputation of Linux/OpSrc world, because its targets can try to link the virus to L/OS by its choice of targets.

    Based on the current knowledge of the virus and the above, I would say there are 3 basic motivations for the virus creator(s):

    1. Spammers testing their tools, as indicated in the above /. comments. In that case SCO/MS attack would simply be a way to have publicity for checking to see how their virus is doing.
    2. A zealot trying to hurt SCO/MS. In that case he was very dumb -- of course it is not impossible though, so we can't rule this possibility out.
    3. It was a publicity stunt by Microsoft. Could be linked to first motivation too. Note that the net effect of the virus for Microsoft has been beneficial PR wise. After all, their systems withstood the attack -- never mind it was said that the attack on MS was much weaker.
    Noting also that the virus creator has had considerable Windows programming skills (which is not the experience generally associated with OpenSource programmers), I believe that the 3d motivation is not entirely impossible either. Especially if it was linked with first.
  • by Spoing (152917) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @08:20AM (#8188058) Homepage
    Last week, after looking at what was comming in for my domain, I suspected that the whole virus was a ruse for spamming. Along with the mydoom virus, a few different viri showed up...1/2 sent to addresses that have only recieved spam in the past. Over the past few days, my spam load has doubled.

    While this is not a clear indication that the spammers sent Mydoom and other viri around the same time, it is mighty curious.

  • Editorial NOT news (Score:4, Informative)

    by ozric99 (162412) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @08:29AM (#8188091) Journal
    Before getting all hot under the collar about this "news story" from the BBC, please understand that this is an editorial article, NOT a news article.
    That fact seems to have escaped a lot of the posters so far.

    Sure, it was riddled with inconsistancies and I'm by no means excusing the author but don't criticise the beeb, criticise the author of this piece of editorial.

  • Evans is a shill (Score:5, Informative)

    by dipfan (192591) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @08:38AM (#8188120) Homepage
    I'm not surprised to read that this piece was written by Stephen Evans, the BBC's North America correspondent. Evans has been for some time a shill on behalf of big business - anyone in Britain who has had to endure his relentlessly pro-MPAA and RIAA pieces will be aware of this.

    Take for example this piece [bbc.co.uk] where Mr Evans comments: "Many students seem to think, apparently, that the internet is a law free zone." Oh yeah?

  • You mean... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dreamchaser (49529) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @09:49AM (#8188477) Homepage Journal
    ...the same BBC that helped drive a man to suicide with their ill sourced, inaccurate, ill founded, politically motivated claims?

    The same BBC that has in recent years showed a steady decline of journalistic integrity?

    The same BBC that has had a string of resignations at high levels because of the fallout for such things?

    I never would have guessed....
  • by pete-classic (75983) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Thursday February 05, 2004 @10:32AM (#8188875) Homepage Journal
    That journalists are pedophiles.

    One bad turn deserves another.

    -Peter
  • by mrwright (242430) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @11:55AM (#8189894)
    Dear Sir

    Thanks for your e-mail.

    I have noted the points you made - as well as the vigorous debate on Slashdot.org about this article.

    Well, Stephen Evan's weekly "stateside" column is not a news story, but an analytical look at major events and business trends in the United States.

    It is, of course, debatable whether MyDoom/Novarg/Shimgapi was written just to bring down the SCO website, or whether the installation of spamming tools on numerous computers was an additional - or even the main - motive.

    That was not the point of Stephen's article.

    In his piece he wanted to draw the attention of BBC News Online's audience - many of whom are unlikely to know the ins and outs of the Open Source debate - to the rapid spread of Linux as a commercial application, SCO's attempts to cash in on this fact, and the deep anger that SCO has caused within the Linux community through its legal actions.

    Stephen is not the first to draw the link between MyDoom and SCO's actions over Linux - plenty of others have done that before, including virus experts.

    Regards,

    Tim Weber
    Business Editor
    BBC News Interactive - www.bbc.co.uk/businessnews
  • Unpossible (Score:5, Funny)

    by Darth RadaR (221648) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @12:26PM (#8190299) Journal
    "It seems the BBC has a story on their front page titled 'Linux cyber-battle turns nasty', very specifically linking Linux users to the MyDoom virus. Some lines to note: 'If anyone's anger has no measure, it is the wrath of internet zealots who believe that code should be free to all (open source).

    If it really were a bunch of Linux/Open Source zealots, they'd have shared the MyDoom source code. :)
  • by thewiz (24994) * on Thursday February 05, 2004 @12:30PM (#8190348)
    It is my perception that many people who use and advocate Linux are also in favor of eliminating spam. It's perhaps one of the major reasons they prefer Linux. We know that virus/trojan horse/worm writers prefer to attack Windows-based systems because of the multitude of security holes it has.

    What's happening with the MyDoom trojan sounds like spammers are trying to use the attacks against SCO and Microsoft (and maybe more targets) as a diversion for what they really want to do: send spam and discredit the groups that seek to eliminate spam. In their perception, Linux and the anti-spam movement are closely related. Discrediting one side of the pairing will eventually weaken the other.

    Ask yourself this: If SCO wins and starts charging $699.00 per copy for Linux, what's the average user of Linux going to do? Probably switch to a Microsoft product and give spammers another system to use for a DDOE (Distributed Denial of E-mail) zombie.
  • silly trick (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tenfish (748408) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @12:39PM (#8190447)
    When I was in grade school I left a note on the teacher's desk that said "Randy is dumb, from Bill". The teacher was so stupid that Bill got paddled for it. (I'm not Bill).

    This writer is as stupid as that teacher was. Believing the obvious is easy. Thinking is the hard part.
  • My Feedback (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lochin Rabbar (577821) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @02:51PM (#8192198)
    When I got home from work I sent the BBC the following complaint:

    At a time when the is reeling from the aftermath of the Hutton report, and needs to demonstrate its journalistic and editorial integrity how does one of the most scurrilous and dishonest reports I have ever had the misfortune to read come to be published on the BBC's website. I refer to Stephen Evans's piece entitled "Linux cyber-battle turns nasty". This one sided and nasty piece of polemic is a far cry from the type of objective comment that should be expected from a BBC correspondent.

    Firstly I would object to the way that Mr. Stephens denigrates and stereotypes computer programmers. In his third paragraph he states:

    "Deep in the darkness of the psyche, vandals and arsonists no doubt have their reasons - and so, presumably, do the run-of-the-mill geeks who wreak damage on the unsuspecting computer user."

    The run of the mill geek is the person who writes the software and maintains the systems upon which computer user depends. It is the run of the mill geek who has to clear up the mess created by the individuals who write and propagate trojans such as MyDoom. If Mr. Evans had the gumption to research his piece he would have known this, all he would have had to do is talk to a few of the technical support staff at the BBC. He would have found that the average geek detests such behaviour, and is heartily sick of dealing with the mess created by it.

    While it is true that the creators of such malicious code are geeks is does not follow that the run of the mill geek creates such destruction. Vandals and arsonists are members of the public but they are hardly representative of the average member of the public. Mr. Evans is a journalist but I would hope and expect that the run of the mill journalist shows more integrity than Mr. Evans.

    The article goes on to claim that the motive for 'seems clear', I wish that I had Mr. Evans powers of divination. It is certainly possible that MyDoom was created by a misguided proponent of the Free Software movement, but there are two other equally plausible theories. MyDoom also carries a payload that allows it to be used by spammers to use infected machines as gateways for unsolicited bulk email, and has been linked to Russian spammers. It also neatly coincides with SCO's Darl McBride's agenda of demonising the creators and advocates of fee software as a criminal and 'unamerican' threat to the right to profit. An agenda which lazy and biased reports like that Mr. Evans parrot.

    Until those responsible for MyDoom are caught their motives can only remain a matter for speculation, and any objective reporter should not favour any one plausible theory over another.

    The article goes on to portray open source advocates as zealots and extremists, Mr. Evans is entitled to this viewpoint, but he should not allow it to colour his reporting. Nor should he allow it to stand in the way of his reporting of facts the contempt for SCO is not because of it being a 'big bad company' it is because SCO has demanded money from other companies, and individuals, for property it claims without providing any evidence to back up these claims. It appears to many that SCO's actions amount to little more than an attempt at extortion. There is already a court order in Germany prohibiting SCO from making such demands until such time that they can prove ownership of the code in question.

    Mr. Evans finishes his article by raising the specter of individuals blackmailing companies through denial of service attacks. Such blackmail is already part of the internet experience for millions of ordinary computer users. They are subjected to a barrage of pop-ad's for software to block these self same pop-ups (http://news.com.com/2100-1023-975298.html?tag=prn tfr). Unfortunately because these attacks are made by companies on individuals the legal authorities seem to be blind to the criminality of such behaviour. The problem of internet blackmail is a real one and it precede

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