Rus Articles Journal

What is “Morris`s Worm“?

at the beginning of November, 1988 the network attack first in the history to the computers connected to the Global network took place. The graduate student of Cornell University Robert Tappan Morris was her responsible.

the Program written by Robert Morris had the small dictionary of the most famous passwords that provided it penetration for 10 percent of the computers connected to ARPANET. Having got on the foreign computer, the program first of all checked whether the same program is installed here already. If the computer was still “pure“, the program masked the presence at system, read the file which contained the information about users of the “occupied“ system, sent these data to the author then tried to copy itself on other computers, “friendly“ to this. The program as if “crept“ from one computer in another. Subsequently she received the name “Morris`s worm“ for it, or even “the Great Worm“. Well, it already by analogy with J. Tolkien`s epos where there was such character.

If everything passed smoothly, the student R. Morris would become not only the owner of the database about all users of all computers connected at that time to a global network. Using the “holes“ found it in system, he could modify already installed programs. And, for example, to become “the lord of the world“, however, computer, controlling work of any of 60 thousand computers scattered across all territory of the USA. Not poorly!

However, fortunately for computer community (and for Morris - younger as it appeared, too), in the program written by the student there was a mistake. “Morris`s worms“ would have to infect each computer only once. Actually they began to be multiplied on each of the infected computers. As a result of November 2, 1988 not less than ten percent of the computers connected to a global network “froze up“. A usual way of correction of many computer malfunctions, reset, did not yield results. “Worms“ from the infected computer did not disappear.

After a hypothesis that Russians attack their computer system administrators were seriously taken for the analysis of the occurred trouble, communicating with colleagues. Most often by phone. E-mail from - for failures in computers was almost blocked. In general, the subsequent calculations showed that the damage from “Morris`s worm“ made more than 96 million dollars. News of the malicious computer application appeared even on the main strips of newspapers in the last days of presidential race of 1988! But both appeared, and disappeared. Few Americans at that time knew what is the computer.

In only two days joint efforts of computer experts yielded result. “Morris`s worm“ was found and deciphered his code. It is unlikely Robert Tappan Morris suffered from megalomania. It did not leave the name in a code. But, having seen that the program made by it did, he tried to report about how to fight against it, through the third parties. And then, apparently, having consulted to the father who was engaged among other things and computer safety, went to be given to FBI. He firmly insisted on interrogations that “worm“ was written to them in the research purposes, and not for diversion at all. As a result, when business came to court, it got off with rather lenient punishment: three years conditionally, 10 thousand dollars of a penalty, 400 hours of public works.

Contrary to widespread legends, the person convicted of hacking will hardly find today to himself work in computer branch, especially, in the sphere of computer safety. How the star of pornofilms will not be accepted to Hollywood even for bit parts. But here R. Morris - younger was lucky. He became doctor of science and made good career in area of computers and the Internet. Still the creator of the first computer worm teaches in Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

And how appearance of “Morris`s worm“ influenced computer community? In - the first, this society was shocked with event scales. And in - the second, the fact that it was made by one of ““. Serious measures for safety were taken. First of all, system administrators realized importance of passwords. It became impossible to get to system by means of simple selection of a key (or it is almost impossible).

Not only system, but also ordinary administrators reacted. With the consent of the U.S. Government the Computer group of emergency response was created on November 30, 1988 (Computer emergency response team - CERT). The most visible American experts in the field of computer science and practice entered it. This group anyway took part in reflection of all a little - malsk of large attacks to computers and on a global network. Its birthday was also offered the international community as the International day of information security.