Today marks the fifth anniversary of the Mydoom virus.
Mydoom is regarded as the fastest-spreading email worm ever and a precursor to current malware that is being spread by email and the internet.
Initially created by email spammers in order to send junk mail through infected computers, the actual author of the worm is unknown although several security firms published their belief that the worm originated from a professional underground programmer in Russia. Despite this, it was named ‘Mydoom' by Craig Schmugar, a McAfee employee who chose the name after noticing the text ‘mydom' within a line of the program's code.
At the time, Schmugar said: “There was a sudden rush in emails we had never seen before. It was evident early on that this would be very big, I thought having 'doom' in the name would be appropriate."
Paul Wood, senior analyst at MessageLabs, claimed that with the Conflicker worm still being circulated, the timing of this anniversary is rather ironic.
Wood said: “With the Conflicker virus, there has been a lot of speculation about how many machines have been infected, and there was a similar problem with the Mydoom virus as it spread by email very quickly and successfully. Viruses do still use email but now malicious links are being used more.
“Mydoom required the download of an executable file, and from that, people are better educated in technology and businesses have put in place safeguards.
“It was a huge impact at the time as the amount of emails it created was huge, some estimates put it at millions but in reality, it was probably under a million.”
Wood claimed that the likelihood of such an attack, particularly one by email, was unlikely as long as people and companies knew how to protect themselves.
Wood said: “If you have the right policies in place then you have done a lot to help yourself, locking down access to websites will help companies to see the benefits to mitigate risks.”