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Melissa creator may be unmasked

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Melissa creator may be unmasked

Thanks to a controversial serial ID number, researchers believe they may have found the virus writer responsible for the Melissa trojan horse program that has overwhelmed commercial, government and military sites.

ZDNN is reporting that two software engineers have extracted information from the Melissa virus that appears to lead to an account on America Online Inc. and a Web site catering to hackers and virus writers. If matched with a person, the information could point law enforcement officials to the author of the prolific virus.

The key is a controversial serial number – called the Global Unique Identifier, or GUID – which is included in files created with Microsoft Office, as well as some other applications, including Visual Basic. The serial number raised concerns among privacy advocates just a few weeks ago because it allows Office documents to be traced back to their creator.

That’s exactly what two software engineers have done. Using the unique number, two researchers have linked the electronic ID associated with the Melissa virus’ Word macro and documents posted on a Web site that belongs to a malicious hacker, and a writer of virus tools.The electronic fingerprint, called the media access control (MAC) address, is a unique serial number that identifies a PC’s Ethernet card.

The full story is available online at http://www.zdnn.com.

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