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Fw: The pluperfect virus
From: davies <email@example.com>
To: Jack Hooker <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Brennon Davies
<email@example.com>; Annette Olsen <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Cheryl
Sanders <email@example.com>; MaryJo Foster <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thursday, May 13, 1999 4:31 AM
Subject: The pluperfect virus
>The Pluperfect Virus
>By Bob Hirschfeld
> Special to The Washington Post
>A new computer virus is spreading throughout the Internet, and it is far
>more insidious than last week's Chernobyl menace. Named, "Strunkenwhite,"
>after the authors of a classic guide to good writing, it returns e-mail
>messages that have grammatical or spelling errors.
> It is deadly accurate in its detection abilities, unlike the dubious
>checkers that come with word processing programs.
>The virus is causing something akin to panic throughout corporate America,
>which has become used to the typos, misspellings, missing words and
>syntax, so acceptable in cyberspace.
>The CEO of LoseItAll.com, an Internet startup, said the virus has rendered
>him helpless. "Each time I tried to send one particular e-mail this
>I got back this error message: 'Your dependent clause, preceding your
>independent clause, must be set off by commas but one must not precede the
>conjunction.' I threw my laptop across the room."
> A top executive at a telecommunications and long-distance company,
>10-10-10-10-10-10-123, said: "This morning, the same damned e-mail kept
>coming back to me, with a pesky notation claiming I needed to use a
>pronoun's possessive case, before a gerund. With the number of e-mails I
>crank out each day, who has time for proper grammar? Whoever created this
>virus should have their programming fingers broken."
> A broker at Begg, Barow and Steele said he couldn't return to the "bad,
>days" when he had to send paper memos in proper English. He speculated
>the hacker who created the Strunkenwhite virus was a "disgruntled English
>major who couldn't make it on a trading floor. When you're buying and
>selling on margin, I don't think it's anybody's business if I write, 'i
>meetinged through the morning, then cinched the deal on the cel phone
>bareling down the xway.' "
>If the Strunkenwhite virus makes e-mailing impossible, it could mean the
>to a communication revolution, once hailed as a significant timesaver. A
>study of 1,254 office workers in Leonia, N.J., found that e-mail increased
>employees' productivity by 1.8 hours a day, because they took less time to
>formulate their thoughts. (The same study also found that they lost 2.2
>hours of productivity, because they were e-mailing so many jokes to their
>spouses, parents and stockbrokers.)
> Strunkenwhite is particularly difficult to detect, because it doesn't
>as an e-mail File Attachment (which requires the recipient to open it
>before it becomes active). Instead, it is disguised within the text of an
>e-mail entitled, "Congratulations on your pay raise." The message asks the
>recipient to "click here to find out about how your raise effects your
>pension." The use of "effects," rather than the grammatically correct
>"affects," appears to be an inside joke from Strunkenwhite's mischievous
> The virus has left government e-mail systems in disarray,also. Officials
>the Office of Management and Budget can no longer transmit electronic
>versions of federal regulations, because their highly technical language
>seems to run afoul of Strunkenwhite's dictum that "vigorous writing is
>concise." The White House speechwriting office reported that
> it had received the same message, along with a caution to avoid phrases
>"the truth is ... " and "in fact ...."
> Home computer users also are reporting snafus, although an e-mailer who
>used the word, "snafu," said she had come to regret it.
>The virus can have an even more devastating impact, if it infects an
>network. A cable news operation was forced to shut down its computer
>for several hours, when it discovered that Strunkenwhite had somehow
>infiltrated its TelePrompTer software, delaying newscasts and leaving news
>anchors nearly tongue-tied, as they wrestled with proper sentence
>There is concern among law enforcement officials that Strunkenwhite is a
>harbinger of the increasingly sophisticated methods hackers are using, to
>exploit the vulnerability of business's reliance on computers. "This is
>of the most complex and invasive examples of computer code we have ever
>encountered. We just can't imagine what kind of devious mind would want to
>tamper with e-mails, to create this burden on communications," said an FBI
>agent, who insisted on speaking via the telephone, out of concern that
>trying to e-mail his comments could leave him tied up for hours.
>Meanwhile, bookstores and online booksellers reported a surge in orders
>Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style."