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O'Reilly

August 28, 2001

Fighting Malicious Mobile Code--O'Reilly Author Provides an Edge in the War Against Rogue Technology

Sebastopol, CA--Contrast the experience of spying, then deleting or otherwise disarming a virus-infected attachment in your email with the feeling that accompanies the discovery that a remote access Trojan has invaded your hard drive and ground your computer to a halt. The first brings a secret thrill of victory, while the second leaves you feeling violated and powerless. The truth is that malicious mobile code can be destructive, causing hours of lost time, lost data and enormous inconvenience to the recipient of the code. Nor is the prevalence of malicious mobile code diminishing. According to Roger Grimes, author of Malicious Mobile Code: Virus Protection for Windows (O'Reilly, US $39.95), it is a technical war. The idea that someone could write malicious code and spread it to 60 million computers in a matter of hours is no longer a fantasy.

"Some antivirus companies are cataloging 200-400 new malicious programs a month, with some vendors saying their products now catch over 54,000 different bugs," says Grimes. "If the general public knew what was possible, they might not want to get on the Internet. There are automated malicious programs, bots, and scripts, all designed to fight it out with the good guys. They look for weaknesses in control and then automate the attack."

Malicious mobile code is destructive self-replicating code, such as a virus or worm that is loaded onto a computer without the user's knowledge and runs against the user's wishes. Even a simple virus can quickly use all available memory and bring a system to a standstill. Grimes, who has been fighting malicious mobile code in many forms since 1987, provides information to help system administrators and users understand the issues of malicious mobile code on Windows systems.

"The rapid pace of malicious mobile code is starting to make conventional antivirus protection tools ineffective," says Grimes. "Everything is now connected to the Internet and new technologies make it easier than ever to send rogue code."

The good news is that there are effective ways to thwart Windows malicious code attacks. Malicious Mobile Code: Virus Protection for Windows offers chapters on each of the different types of "rogue" codes filled with comprehensive information on each type of attack, including how the attack works, how to recognize symptoms of the attack, and how to protect your system. Grimes covers viruses, Trojans and worms, ActiveX and Java exploits, DOS viruses, Macro viruses, browser-based exploits, email attacks and instant messaging attacks.

In addition to covering the various types of malicious mobile code, Grimes provides insight into the current state of malicious code writing and the cracker community. For those who wonder about what type of person would write malicious mobile code and why, Grimes presents a detailed picture of the very active virus-writing subculture and what motivates it.

Malicious Mobile Code: Virus Protection for Windows was written for intermediate and advanced level personal computer users, as well as network administrators who are interested in protecting Windows-based computer assets against malicious mobile code. Drawing on his extensive experience and research, Grimes details the best ways to configure Windows for maximum protection, what a DOS virus can and can't do, what today's biggest threats are, and other important and frequently surprising information. Users everywhere will find Malicious Mobile Code to be the essential guide for securing a system from catastrophic loss.

Online Resources:

Malicious Mobile Code: Virus Protection for Windows
By Roger A. Grimes
August 2001
ISBN 1-56592-682-X, 522 pages, $39.95 (US)
order@oreilly.com
1-800-998-9938

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