SoBig.F, the fastest-spreading email virus in history, slowed down
somewhat over the weekend, but security experts warn that replicated
viruses could launch a new wave of attacks soon. SoBig.F's creator
designed the virus to unleash two broad attacks over the weekend,
either of which could have temporarily crippled the Internet, but
security experts were able to protect against the assaults, rendering
them ineffective. Before the virus expires on September 10, it will
try one more broad attack, according to people who have examined its
In the meantime, SoBig.F's long-term effects will be felt for
months. According to industry analysts, the virus infected hundreds of
thousands of computers every day last week for several days straight.
By Sunday, the rate of infection had slowed to just tens of thousands
of computers, leading security experts to believe the worst was over.
As IT workers labor to remove the pernicious virus from these systems,
computer users from all walks of life are pondering what they could
have done to prevent the vicious outbreak.
But with viruses, attacks never really end--a bigger and more
dangerous virus or worm is always waiting around the corner, ready to
take another crack at usurping control of users' computers, launching
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks and wreaking other havoc
in an attempt to bring the Internet to its virtual knees. In many
ways, user education seems to have failed with SoBig.F. Enough people
opened infected attachments from unknown users to let this virus
spread more rapidly than any other. And the fact that the SoBig.F
outbreak was infinitely preventable makes the situation even more
So what's next? Security experts say the next generation of the
virus, SoBig.G, is just around the corner. Whether this assault will
as devastating as--or even more devastating than--its predecessor
remains to be seen. Let's hope that next time we'll be ready.