Re: Re[2]: A puzzlement: is this a virus?

Subject: Re: Re[2]: A puzzlement: is this a virus?
From: Roger Mallett <roger -at- CSICAL -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 10 Apr 1998 08:13:50 -0700

I remember before Word macro viruses poped up I submitted to our IS
group a working example of how such a virus would work. Therefore, I am
very hesitant to say "you can't get a virus like that". (NOTE: NO I am
NOT a virus maker, there was just a time that I felt compelled to prove
a point.) However, on this one, the chance seems less than remote, and
in light of how the internet transports data, falls into the realm of
the impossible.

To get a little more detailed, file transport across the internet works
like this:

The file/letter/email (hereafter known as "job") is broken into packets.
Each packet has characteristics that identify where it is going, where
it belongs in relation to other packets associated with the job, and a
checksum, etc., etc. Each packet can travel a different path to the
destination. In the event that some/all of the packets travel the same
path, they don't need to travel that path sequentially/serially, that
is, other packets not belonging to the job can be interlaced. Before
the job is considered received, all packets belonging to the job must be
accounted for (and intact) at the final destination.

Furthermore, listening to packets travel through the net is akin to
listening to people talk. You may be able to intelligibly hear all or
part of the conversation, but capturing the sound as it travels through
the air, modifying it, and sending it on its way to the next listener is
not possible (though it may be jammed such that the next listener cannot
hear it). Modification any of the packets will result in corruption
that is detected, frequently causing a request to resubmit the packet,
which may then travel another route and bypass the offending site.

>From: Walker, Arlen P[SMTP:Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM]
>Sent: Friday, April 10, 1998 6:53 AM
>Subject: Re[2]: A puzzlement: is this a virus?
> You didn't say, but since she's using AOL, it seems that your
> coworker is sending the files from home. I'm not a networking
> expert, but I'm wondering if it's possible for a file to pick up
> virus while traveling across the the internet.
>Not without postulating a vicious enough conspiracy to make any and all
>security precautions useless.
>It passes through a lot of equipment, yes, but simply passing through
>equipment is not enough to infect it. It's not physical proximity which
>causes computer viruses to spread.
>Have fun,
>Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
>DNRC 224
>Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
>In God we trust; all others must provide data.
>Opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.
>If JCI had an opinion on this, they'd hire someone else to deliver it.
>Check out topic summaries at

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