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Serial numbers unmask Melissa author

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Serial numbers may not be so good for your privacy, but they come pretty damn useful when tracking down virus authors. Using Microsoft's highly contentious Global Unique Identifier, two bug hunters have unmasked the web site where -- they claim -- the Melissa email virus originated. Bug hunter Richard Smith, president of Phar Lap Software, has passed this information onto the FBI. He says the virus bears the hallmarks of a virus unleashed on an unsuspecting planet two years ago. Let's hope he's right. The FBI will be trampling all over this unnamed web site with a less than fine tooth comb. The Melissa author could always have framed the web site. We wonder how Microsoft will deal with this unexpected plug for serial numbers. Smith and fellow virus chaser, Swedish PhD student Fredrik Bjorck, used the electronic fingerprint contained in the Melissa-infected Word Macro. This fingerprint is identical to documents posted on the "guilty" web site. ® See also: Melissa virus threatens to bring email to a halt How to say goodbye to those Win98 ID number blues Microsoft caught with pants down over hardware IDs Unique serial number exists in all 25 micron chips

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