Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

11/4/2013
05:15 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

25 Years After: The Legacy Of The Morris Internet Worm

A look at how worms have evolved from the infamous -- and relatively benign -- Internet worm of 1988 to targeted, destructive attacks

Given the diversity and spread of the Internet and the Internet of Things today, it's unlikely another big-time Internet worm could be unleashed that could be relatively as powerful as Morris' was back in the day. But that doesn't mean the Internet isn't at risk of another "Morris moment" of sorts.

"It would definitely be much harder to do," Maiffret says. "A lot of the previous worms were propagated by targeted, server-side vulnerabilities, and most modern types are targeting client-side applications software."

And with the disappearing network perimeter, it would be more difficult to spread from organization to organization, he says.

Spaf says another big Internet worm like Morris' would be difficult to pull off. "I won't say it is impossible, but I think it is unlikely. We have too many systems with dissimilar rules, software, and network filters," Spaf says. "If something did occur, it would be more like the Slammer worm in behavior."

So what ever happened to Morris? At the time, he was found guilty of violating the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and sentenced to three years' probation, 400 hours of community service, and more than $10,000 in fines. He is currently a member of the faculty at MIT's computer science department -- the very university where he first unleashed the worm in 1988.

Spaf says Morris indeed paid his dues and made amends for the 1988 worm. "He has not used [the worm] for any personal gain, he has not bragged about it, written about it, nor advertised it to the security business. He instead went on to found a company and get his Ph.D., and he's a valued member of the academic community now," Spaf says.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Previous
2 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
cbabcock
50%
50%
cbabcock,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/6/2013 | 2:58:13 AM
re: 25 Years After: The Legacy Of The Morris Internet Worm
Great historical review by Kelly Jackson Higgins of the Morris worm, which was for its time thinking far outside the box. We needed a warning that a poorly administrated Internet server was a dangerous thing, and Robert Morris provided it. I've not read before that it was poorly engineered. Nor is that what interests me. It was Morris' ability to see an opportunity that had been inadvertently created by the pell mell expansion of the Internet that's of interest. We should not forget that it's possible fora large group of people to do one thing with positive goals and at the same time create an opportunity for someone bent on mischief, or worse.
Commentary
How SolarWinds Busted Up Our Assumptions About Code Signing
Dr. Jethro Beekman, Technical Director,  3/3/2021
News
'ObliqueRAT' Now Hides Behind Images on Compromised Websites
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  3/2/2021
News
Attackers Turn Struggling Software Projects Into Trojan Horses
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  2/26/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: George has not accepted that the technology age has come to an end.
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-26814
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-06
Wazuh API in Wazuh from 4.0.0 to 4.0.3 allows authenticated users to execute arbitrary code with administrative privileges via /manager/files URI. An authenticated user to the service may exploit incomplete input validation on the /manager/files API to inject arbitrary code within the API service sc...
CVE-2021-27581
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-05
The Blog module in Kentico CMS 5.5 R2 build 5.5.3996 allows SQL injection via the tagname parameter.
CVE-2021-28042
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-05
Deutsche Post Mailoptimizer 4.3 before 2020-11-09 allows Directory Traversal via a crafted ZIP archive to the Upload feature or the MO Connect component. This can lead to remote code execution.
CVE-2021-28041
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-05
ssh-agent in OpenSSH before 8.5 has a double free that may be relevant in a few less-common scenarios, such as unconstrained agent-socket access on a legacy operating system, or the forwarding of an agent to an attacker-controlled host.
CVE-2021-3377
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-05
The npm package ansi_up converts ANSI escape codes into HTML. In ansi_up v4, ANSI escape codes can be used to create HTML hyperlinks. Due to insufficient URL sanitization, this feature is affected by a cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability. This issue is fixed in v5.0.0.