An Analysis of the Internet Virus of November 1988
In early November 1988 the Internet, a collection
of networks consisting of 60,000 host computers implementing the
TCP/IP protocol suite, was attacked by a virus, a program which broke
into computers on the network and which spread from one machine to
another. This paper is a detailed analysis of the virus program
itself, as well as the reactions of the besieged Internet community.
We discuss the structure of the actual program, as well as the
strategies the virus used to reproduce itself. We present
the chronology of events as seen by our team at MIT, one of a handful
of groups around the country working to take apart the virus, in an
attempt to discover its secrets and to learn the network's
We describe the lessons that this incident has taught the Internet
community and topics for future consideration and resolution. A
detailed routine by routine description of the virus program
including the contents of its built in dictionary is provided.