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Emails at dawn: are you a pawn in the SCO attack?

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This may be a tad out of date by the time you read it but you may care to check your computers for a file called shimgapi. dll. If it's there, probably in your System Folder, slash your wrist or kick your IT bloke in the head until his ears fall off. And then get your antivirus software upgraded. The presence of the shimgapi file is one indication that you've been infected with the latest monster virus known variously as MyDoom or Novarg, and that you are set to participate unwittingly in a worldwide denial of service to SCO, recently described by BusinessWeek online as 'the most hated company in tech'.

Denial-of-service attacks involve millions of computers sending messages to the target company clogging up its email system and thus effectively stopping communications with the outside world. SCO has been targeted thus before, but this promises to be a biggie.

SCO is less than popular because it is running a campaign based on its claim that it has intellectual ownership of some of the core Linux code and is demanding that big Linux users pay for a licence. It has a giant case out against IBM but has been countersued by IBM and major Linux distributor, Red Hat.

Novell is also involved, possibly as the real owner of SCO's claimed intellectual property. I won't go into the detail.

Apart from that SCO and its lawyers, the main beneficiaries of a successful case (to be heard in April 2005 in SCO's home state of Utah) is, of course, Linux's arch enemy Microsoft. Microsoft has already paid SCO $12 million in licence fees.

Odd that, because Microsoft doesn't normally admit to using Linux. But apparently the fees are just in case it does. Or something like that.

The Open Source (aka free) IT industry is standing four-square against SCO but is also condemning the denial-of-service attack. Especially when MyDoom and Novarg also do horrible things to your computer as they go on the attack. But you can hear the sniggers.

sutherland. lyall@btinternet. com

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