Spam, Viruses, and other amusements

James Rogers jamesr at
Tue Aug 26 01:50:04 PDT 2003

On 8/26/03 12:05 AM, "Udhay Shankar N" <udhay at> wrote:
> How nice for you, Justin. You're in some infected PC's address book.

Yeah, me too.  Using Unix is no defense.  My email address is so old and in
some many address books that I get hosed every time.

As a vaguely interesting story, one of the last times this happened the
virus was actually piggybacking on a copy of a real email I had sent to a
mailing list that someone else had apparently saved (Klez?).  It was a
moderately intellectual post on a somewhat substantive topic (economics)
that was written such that the intended recipient was ambiguous.

I have no idea who it was that got infected, but they had a REALLY GREAT
address book.  I got responses to that forged email from a veritable who's
who of technology, business, and political leaders.  Some of them wrote
lengthy point by point responses to the email the virus used, others sent me
replies saying that their computer was telling them that my email was a
virus.  Naturally, I had to tell all of them that while I had in fact
authored that email, I had never actually sent it to them and that a virus
had piggybacked on it from someone else's computer.  I almost felt bad,
because some of them put a lot of effort into their response to the email I
supposedly had sent.

It was a matter of chance that the email the virus chose to use as a
template was one that was particularly conducive to a lot of people
responding in that instance.  But I would think such people would be more
concerned that sensitive email they had sent would be forwarded to the world
at large in a similar fashion.

Which is one of the reasons this email address will be going away relatively
soon.  I keep it because it is ancient and the whole world uses it, but it
has become a spam and virus liability (i.e. "the whole world uses it").


-James Rogers
 jamesr at

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