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Home > Media Reiews > News Review Last Updated: 14:52 03/09/2007
News Review #14: March 18, 2002

New e-mail worm shifts language for recipients

Reviewed By Hitoshi URABE

"New e-mail worm shifts language for recipients"
By Todd R. Weiss (IDG), CNN

Subculture of internet, of viruses, worms, and Trojan horses, has expanded together with the growth of internet. It has now become a part of everyday life, just like burglars and pickpockets, and now the responsibility of avoiding the menace falls, in practical terms, on the legitimate people. A new type of these malicious creatures pops up almost every day, and so it has become a routine for the people to be on alert at all times.

The article introduced here reports that another internet worm is proliferating, and this time especially in Japan.

Latest report released by Nielsen//NetRatings last week estimates there are about five hundred million people using internet in the whole world, and more than one hundred million in Asia-Pacific region. Another report by Japan's 'Somu-sho', or The Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications, states that there are twenty million Japanese who subscribe to commercial internet providers, and, though there may be some duplicates, fifty million people use e-mails over mobile phones. Numbers are apparently large enough to make it tempting for those with strong self-assertiveness to show-off their ingenuity by means of spreading illegitimate programs in the system.

There is, however, nothing really significant about the new virus in terms of its functions or the way it is programmed. It does no direct harm to the system; it merely transmits itself via internet to whomever the email address is stored in the PC infected. And the worm is an ambiguous tell-tale attached file, a self-evident 'exe' file which is harmless unless executed manually by the recipient of the mail. Anyone with a bit of experience with internet does not seem be fooled easily.

Then why is it proliferating, especially in Japan?

The novelty of the new worm is the way it assigns the title of a mail. The worm is so designed that whenever the address of a potential recipient has the suffix 'jp', indicating that the address has been assigned in Japan, it attaches a title that is very probable and innocent, in Japanese.

Globalization is a two way process. It is, on one hand, for domestic and local ways to adjust to outside world, while it also means that whatever out there will be penetrating into what used to be a safe and comfortable society. This might be a good lesson for Japanese who tend to respond very naively and lower their shields when they are faced with a disguise of kinship.

Copyright © Japanese Institute of Global Communications