[TUHS] Happy birthday, Morris Worm!

Dan Cross crossd at gmail.com
Thu Nov 2 10:09:05 AEST 2017


On Wed, Nov 1, 2017 at 6:17 PM, Dave Horsfall <dave at horsfall.org> wrote:
> The infamous Morris Worm was released in 1988; making use of known
> vulnerabilities in Sendmail/finger/RSH (and weak passwords), it took out a
> metric shitload of SUN-3s and 4BSD Vaxen (the author claimed that it was
> accidental, but the idiot hadn't tested it on an isolated network first). A
> temporary "condom" was discovered by Rich Kulawiec with "mkdir /tmp/sh".

I feel obligated to mention out that Robert Tappan Morris is really
very nice and quite humble in real life. As I understand it he's never
sought to capitalize on his infamy from the worm, and while I've never
asked him about it (I'm sure that would be very rude) I understand
from some of his former students that he feels very contrite about the
whole thing. He made a mistake when he was young; the same is true of
many of us (myself included). His mistake had the misfortune of being
much better known than those most of us make.

I should mention that I only know him slightly, but what I have seen
of his personality reminds me very much of how I remember Dennis
Ritchie: affable, kind and extremely approachable.

        - Dan C.


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