The Mywife.E Worm: Update # 2

As we pass noon on Monday, here in Redmond, we are happy to see that the Mywife.E worm (aka CME 24) turned out to be more hype than reality. Our product support departments (including calls to our free virus support line: 1-866-PCSafety) around the world are currently reporting low call volumes with respect to this issue and the few calls they did receive tended to be inquiries based on word-of-mouth vs. infected users.  This is consistent with what most of our anti-malware partners are reporting.
It is my hope that incidents like this don’t get too over-hyped in the future. As members of the security community, I believe we have the responsibility to provide our audience with accurate data that properly reflects the threat. What's interesting is that in this case, data from an unreliable source (a web counter essentially controlled by a malware author) was the primary data source to determine the level of threat to the world. I fear that too much hype in situations that end in false alarms ends up diluting the meaning of warnings for true worldwide threats. That's not to say that customers should not have been warned for this threat, but these notices should be based on fact and broadcast with the best interest of the audience in mind.


Matt Braverman
Program Manager
Anti-Malware Technology Team
Microsoft Corporation

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Comments (2)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Oh my…

    MS genuinely surprised 250,000 unique systems infected with Alcan.B

    Published: 2006-04-08,Last…

  2. Alun Jones says:

    Maybe we should require future viruses to sign their counter increment request?

    Hype is good and bad – who’s to say that it didn’t increase the number of people updating their virus scanners, or running any of a number of independently-developed scanning tools for just this virus?

    When Y2K came and went with nary a whimper, the conventional wisdom held that the problem never existed.  As someone who spent some significant time investigating potential Y2K problems and fixing them before anyone saw them, I know better.

    A self-defeating prophecy is often a really good thing.

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