Hard News by Russell Brown

Creeping chaos

Phew. WTF is up with this Sobig.F worm? I don't think I've ever seen so much virus traffic in a 24-hour spell. The virus gaily spoofs "from" addresses, so there's no way of telling where it actually came from, but at least I know it's not from me.

No sir, my Mac-using ass is not prey to Windows viruses, which is nice, but no guarantee against being caught in the crossfire, especially given that I operate a number of fairly widely-known email addresses. Sobig has spoofed a hardnews.co.nz address somewhere, so I woke up to about 200 bounce messages from autoresponders all over the world. As The Register is currently pointing out, someone needs to turn those fucking things off. They're part of the problem, not the solution.

Unsurprisingly, SoBig.F has just been declared the fastest-spreading e-mail virus of all time. Meanwhile, the Blaster and Nachi network worms are creating so much traffic that part of the Internet backbone are slowing down. Wired has a story on the virus invasion.

And just to add to your creeping feeling of infrastructure collapse, check another news story from the Reg crew:

The Slammer worm penetrated a private computer network at Ohio's Davis-Besse nuclear power plant in January and disabled a safety monitoring system for nearly five hours, despite a belief by plant personnel that the network was protected by a firewall.

As we say in my country, bugger.

Anyway, Rumsfeld looked scared, Bush was, as usual, as real as Mickey Mouse, and Kofi Annan was incredible. On BBC world last night, I watched all of Annan's press conference at Stockholm airport, en route to New York, and the transcript, while worth reading doesn't really do it justice. Shattered and sombre as he was, the UN secretary general spoke strongly and beautifully, in flowing, balanced sentences.

Compare it to Bush's comments (Lord forbid the President should actually front up to a press conference occasionally), which are full of the usual cant, and the punishing, ugly syntax of Rumsfeld's Iraq answers at his presser in Honduras. Given verbal articulacy as a measure of intellectual performance, who would you rather have running the world?

Electronic Iraq has two essays from Voices in the Wilderness human rights activists, one Irish, the other Muslim-American. Sobering isn't the half of it.

As news of the UN bombing broke yesterday, it might have been easy to overlook quite how grotesque the bus-bomb attack in Jerusalem was. No matter how much bad faith has been displayed by Sharon's government in the last month or two, nothing justifies that. Nothing. It is, however, quite some cause for cheer that the Israeli government is, for the moment at least, holding off on a revenge attack.

On account of having a life, I haven't actually seen any of Brian Edwards' Edwards at Large shows on Saturday nights, but it appears that Mr Edwards is due for an order from on high to sit down. His invitation to appear to Rodney Hide might have been alright had Edwards done so merely to show that his programme really was a light chat show. But Edwards seems to have run very close to using his show to pursue a personal argument. He should stop, before someone else stops him.

Oh, and here's a good news story concerning New Zealand, in an Australian paper, that was virtually ignored here. A bit more detail on Mediawatch on Sunday …