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Backdoor Eggdrop Trojan

Be Part of 1 Boy, 1 Girl! Want White Teeth?

By Richard von Busack

TO A WORDSMITH with a sensitivity to words--for example, the word "wordsmith" sets Biter's teeth on edge--the volume of email spam we receive seems especially unbearable. The ugly use of the language is even more annoying than just the false note of chumminess so many of the cybermissives try to strike.

We're not talking about the several hundred species of the "Nigerian letter," a sometimes cute English-as-a-second-language exercise whose length and breadth is outlined in full at the urban-legend debunker site www.snopes.com. No, Biter is talking about the messages for some kind of tooth bleach that read, "Be Part of 1 Boy, 1 Girl! Want White Teeth?" Of course I want to Be Part of 1 Boy, 1 Girl!--it's spring, isn't it?

A piece of hard-drive cleanser arrived with "Warning: Backdoor Eggdrop Trojan is spreading, Get a Cure Here." The charmingly named but fearsome BET virus menaces my computer, and yours, even as we speak.

But when you get a message titled "jabotage ljuncher-generic viagra (Bart Simipsion priank.)" it's a bad sign. Any wide-awake viewer of The Matrix knows that this is the first step toward the human race's downfall. The computers are doin' it for themselves and soon will be in charge of the world's writing.

As the economy gets sicker, the abject weaselry in the approach worsens. We get "Thanks so much" or "Thanks Again" (from "Roxanne Coulter," who turns out to be blind). Because messages with such headings are so rare to journalists, we're inclined to open them first. Imagine our disappointment and how we'll be soaking our pillow with tears that night. Is it worth a few lousy bucks, you spam devils, to inflict such pain?

Sometimes the scam is obvious: "When can I call you?" asks someone with the easy-to-remember email address [email protected] "I think you are hot!" gushes some admirer of Biter's fine fat frame who rejoices in what's unquestionably the human-constructed handle [email protected] When the mail comes, and we've gotten a message titled "huuhtoutuneita brookless turismen geconfereerde schw„rztest" from one Mr. or Ms. [email protected], our spider sense starts tingling. You know, perhaps Biter's overreacting, but we suspect what we've got here is a piece of worthless goddamn spam.

The trouser-snake-oil salesmen are relentless. They try to vamp on male insecurity, using subject lines like "Will She Stay?" or "Someone Is Searching for You" to hawk some kind of corrosive sludge that they swear will make your Johnson as long as a Georgia pine.

But what I object to most is the idea that some desperate wretch thinks that the clever means used to get the cyberfoot in the cyberdoor won't make a difference when it comes to getting us to actually buy something. In the real world--as opposed to the computer world. Would you give money to someone who proposed to start a business relationship with a prank? Is Biter being old-fashioned here, or are we really supposed to admire their audacity for lying? Do they, in their criminal desperation, imagine someone will rise to the bait, perhaps an eccentric recluse millionaire, a C. Montgomery Burns:

"Hello, what's this? 'It's Me, Your Long Lost Son?' Chauncey, a message from you? After all these years, you've forgiven me. Oh, ho, it's actually an advertisement for a penis-lengthening ointment! I was fooled! What a capital jest! Fibbing to get my business shows what avidity you have to 'close,' my unknown correspondent! Why, you remind me of myself, 50 years ago, when I was lying my way to my first million in front of the SEC. Here's my credit card number! No, here's all of them!"

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From the May 29-June 4, 2003 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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