Re: Virus warnings, blocked emails etc...

From: Ian Gibson (
Date: Fri Aug 29 2003 - 04:03:11 EEST

So that means that these messages are not actually coming from the rp-ml
server. Which also means that if you remove yourself from this mailing
list, you will still get the SoBig messages.



At 11:14 AM 8/28/2003 +0300, you wrote:
>Hannu Kaikonen writes:
> > It is a common practice that sender of an email is friendly adviced
> > if the message one sent was infected or for some other reason
> blocked. Now
> > some people somewhere in their infinite wisdom have decided to start
> > warning the receiptents of infected emails as well (propably because of
> > the nature of some viruses)... Since "To:rp-ml..."
> > is distributed to over 1700 locations around the world, there are a lot of
> > "content scanners" with this fancy new setup, and we are getting warnings
> > of the same virus (or "possibly malicious emails") over and over
> again... That means that we
> > will get significant amount of "warnings" in the near future.
>That was good and educated guess, Hannu, but not entirely accurate.
>The list has been getting these virus warnings and automated
>acknowledgments of received emails as a result of a virus gone
>wild. The virus is called Sobig.F and it has absolutely nothing to do
>with rp-ml.
>The virus infects Windows-machines and turns them into mail
>servers. The virus then searches for files in the infected machine
>that contain email addressess. Then it starts sending copies of itself
>in email attachments to all the addresses it finds. This is fairly
>normal and usually we need not worry about such emails since all
>messages with potential virus contents are blocked from the list.
>The problem with Sobig.F is that it uses fake sender addresses in the
>emails it sends. It picks sender addressess as well as receiver
>addresses randomly from the files in the infected machine. This means
>that all possible error messages get bounced back to these forged
>In our case this means that there's a machine somewhere (or about a
>thousand machines more likely) that has the Sobig.F -virus and it
>finds the address '' somewhere in the files of the
>infected machine. Then it starts sending copies of itself using
> as the address of the _sender_. Some of these mails
>get blocked by content scanners (obviously since there's a virus) and
>the error messages get sent to the sender's address, which happens to
>Since the virus started spreading on August 19th, I have received
>probably more than 3000 (I stopped counting at 1500) email messages as
>a result of Sobig.F. If I ever meet the guy who wrote the blasted
>thing, I think I'll... er... not be very nice to him!
>More information about the virus can be found in
> > I'm turly sorry about this, and we will try to figure out how to filter
> > out these unneccessary warnings.
>That might be difficult, although probably not impossible. Hopefully
>the virus dies out in a few more days and the traffic stops. But there
>will be others like this one, and a solution should be found.
>PS. And I hope you have all understood by now that you cannot get
> viruses through rp-ml. All attachments that might potentially carry a
> virus, are blocked.
>PPS. The best way to avoid virus infections through email in general
> is not to open any suspicious attachments.

Dr. Ian Gibson

Currently on study leave at
National University of Singapore,
Dept. Mechanical Engineering
9 Engineering Drive 1
Singapore 117576
Tel: +65 6874 1917
Mob: +65 9087 3512

"Everything really is stupidly simple, and yet all around is utter confusion,
don't look around to find the sound that's right beneath your feet"

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