Thursday, June 16, 2005


Trivia Bite Round 1: Worms Worms Worms

Aloha Quizzards,

“The Best thing about computers, is that no matter how much ever information you pack into them, they don’t get more heavier“ – Bill Gates

So we start this episode of Trivia with some heavy words from the SATAN of computers, which I totally endorse .

This week’s trivia consists of Filling the Blanks.

Trivia of the Week:

No, Mr. Sullivan, we can´t stop it! There´s never been a ­­______ with that tough a head or that long a tail! It´s building itself, don´t you understand? Already it´s passed a billion bits and it´s still growing. It´s the exact inverse of a phage- whatever it takes in, it adds to itself instead of wiping... Yes, sir! I´m quite aware that a ______ of that type is theoretically impossible! But the fact stands, he´s done it, and now it´s so goddamn comprehensive that it can´t be killed. Not short of demolishing the net!

CLUE: “what man creates he himself destroys”, is the apt saying that comes to my mind, when I read these lines from John Brunner.


“ WORMS ”; no this ain’t the latest production from Walt Disney or Pixar animation but the computer worm; remember MELISSA.

What is a computer Worm (Definition) :

A computer worm is a program that self-propagates across a network exploiting security or policy flaws in widely-used services. They are not a new phenomenon, having first gained widespread notice in 1988 [16]. We distinguish between worms and viruses in that the latter infect otherwise non-mobile files and therefore require some sort of user action to abet their propagation. As such, viruses tend to propagate more slowly. They also have more mature defenses due to the presence of a large anti-virus industry that actively seeks to identify and control their spread.

More info here : Worms

Creators of WORM : John Shoch and Jon Hupp at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center discover the computer “worm,” a short program that searches a network for idle processors. Initially designed to provide more efficient use of computers and for testing, the worm had the unintended effect of invading networked computers, creating a security threat.Shoch took the term “worm” from the book “The Shockwave Rider,” by John Brunner, in which an omnipotent “tapeworm” program runs loose through a network of computers.

Isn’t it an irony that what was created first as a potential usage for identification and utilization of idle computing power became a potent killer by residing in the computer memory and scavenging it like a parasite?
Act one : The first worm to attract wide attention, the
Morris worm, was written by Robert Tappan Morris, Jr., who at the time was a graduate student at Cornell University. It was released on November 2, 1988, and quickly infected a great many computers on the Internet at the time. It propagated through a number of bugs in BSD Unix and its derivatives. Morris himself was convicted under the US Computer Crime and Abuse Act and received three years’ probation, community service and a fine in excess of $10,000.
Slimy worms and slithering Bugs… Man the life of a Software engineer can be quite Buggy… NO more comments people !!!!


Mail your answers to :

1. Also known as “Mailissa”, “Simpsons”, “Kwyjibo”, or “Kwejeebo”, is a computer worm that also functions as a macro virus, hence making it a “multipartite virus”.

Ans: "Melissa" A Word macro virus that was unleashed in the spring of 1999. It sends an e-mail message with a list of pornographic Web sites. named by David.L.Smith after a LAP Dancer he met in Florida... Hmmm

2. In computer terminology what (or) who is 1977 Trinity ?

Ans: The 3 companies that came out with ready to run PCs in the year 1977. They were Apple, Tandy (Of RadioShack) and Commodore.

3. What is common to David Smith, Joe Popp and Christopher Pile? [Clue: Virus and Law and yes the list is not ending there …]

Ans: They are the only three virus writers who have been sentenced and served time in jail. David Smith for writing Melissa, Cristopher Pile also known as the "Black Baron" for creating a toolkit (SMEG) which could boost the impact of existing viruses by randomizing their code, and Joe Popp for mailing 20,000 copies of a Trojan Program.

4. OK.. just to go with the Trivia of the day, What is the name of the protagonist of “The ShockWave” by John Brunner ?

Ans: Niel Haflinger

5. 30 June 1945: The “First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC” was written and set the stage for computer architectural design for many years. This work included the concept of a “stored program” and this architectural style was named after him. What is the architectural style?

Ans: The inimitable "VON NUEMAN Architecture"; every Computer Professionals Bible.

6. This game was Atari’s comeback to Space Invaders and defined the genre of addictive video games. Employees had to be pulled away from the prototypes and made to work. The thrust, direction and hyperspace buttons were new concepts and it was the first game to save High Scores for all to see and went to smash all Space Invaders Records.

Ans: Asteroids.

7. Name another word which is also inspired by a similar play of words or from another Sci-fi Novel ? (Additional points for more Words )

Ans: YAHOO (Gulliver's Travels) or TROJAN ( Homer's epics) or VIRUS (H.A.R.L.I.E),etc etc

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