Date: Wed, 26 Jun 91 09:32:47 EDT
From: Revised List Processor (1.6e)
Subject: Your subscription to list VIRUS-L
To: Bill Feidt
Your subscription to list VIRUS-L (Virus Discussion List) has been accepted.
[ Last modified 16 July 1990 - Ken van Wyk ]
Welcome to VIRUS-L/comp.virus! This document explains what VIRUS-L/comp.virus
is, how to use the list, and presents guidelines for messages to the list.
Please take a few moments and read this message; I suggest storing a copy of it
for later reference as well.
What is VIRUS-L/comp.virus?
It is an electronic mail discussion forum for sharing information and ideas
about computer viruses, which is also distributed via the Usenet Netnews as
comp.virus. Discussions should include (but not necessarily be limited to):
current events (virus sightings), virus prevention (practical and theoretical),
and virus related questions/answers. The list is moderated and digested. That
means that any message coming in gets sent to me, the editor. I read through
the messages and make sure that they adhere to the guidelines of the list (see
below) and add them to the next digest. Weekly logs of digests are kept by the
LISTSERV (see below for details on how to get them). For those interested in
statistics, VIRUS-L is now up to about 1100 direct subscribers. Of those,
approximately 80 are local redistribution accounts with an unknown number of
readers. In addition, an unknown number of readers read comp.virus on the
As stated above, the list is digested and moderated (comp.virus postings are
sent out individually). As such, digests go out when a) there are enough
messages for a digest, and b) when I put all incoming (relevant) messages into
the digest. Obviously, this can decrease the timeliness of urgent messages such
as virus warnings/alerts. For that, we have a sister list called VALERT-L. It
is "moderated on demand" and undigested. Messages sent to VALERT-L get sent out
as quickly as possible (subscribers receive full instructions on how to post 24
hours a day). VALERT-L is for the sole purpose of rapidly sending out virus
alerts. Anyone who does not adhere to this one guideline of VALERT-L will be
immediately removed from the list. Subscriptions and deletions to VALERT-L are
handled identically as those for VIRUS-L (see instructions below).
What VIRUS-L is *NOT*?
A place to spread hype about computer viruses. Contributing to rumors merely
makes them worse. It is not a place to sell things, to panhandle, or to flame
other subscribers. If anyone *REALLY* feels the need to flame someone else for
something that they may have said, then the flame should be sent directly to
that person and/or to the moderator (that would be me, firstname.lastname@example.org).
What sort of message is relevant to the group?
Any message that is virus related and that adheres to the posting guidelines
(see below) is relevant and will be posted. In the past, VIRUS-L has never
restricted itself to any particular hardware/software platform, although most
messages tend to be PC or Macintosh based. Nonetheless, discussions of viruses
on other systems (e.g., UNIX) is allowed and, in fact, encouraged.
My stance on moderating the group has always been (and will probably remain)
that I make sure that a message is relevant to the group, and post it. I will
avoid editorializing or altering messages, although I may toss in an additional
point for clarity from time to time. That is to say, anyone who has something
to say to the community may do so, within my guidelines. As a result, there
will undoubtedly be some duplication from time to time. I invite your feedback
One thing to bear in mind when sending a message to this (or any) public forum
is that you have a potentially *very* large audience - this group is read by an
estimated 10000-20000 people around the globe. As such, it is advisable to be
particularly careful about how you word things. More on this topic below in the
How do I get on the mailing list?
Well, if you are reading this, chances are *real good* that you are already on
the list. However, perhaps this document was given to you by a friend or
colleague... So, to get onto the VIRUS-L mailing list, send a mail message to
email@example.com. In the body of the message, say nothing more than SUB
VIRUS-L your name. LISTSERV is a program which automates mailing lists such as
VIRUS-L. As long as you are either on BITNET, or any network accessible to
BITNET via gateway, this should work. Within a short time, you will be placed
on the mailing list, and you will get confirmation via e-mail.
Internet users should note that the BITNET host, LEHIIBM1, is the same host as
IBM1.CC.LEHIGH.EDU. Thus, LISTSERV requests can be sent to
LISTSERV@IBM1.CC.LEHIGH.EDU or LISTSERV@LEHIIBM1.BITNET.
How do I get OFF of the list?
If, in the unlikely event, you should desire to be removed from the VIRUS-L
discussion list, just send mail to LISTSERV@LEHIIBM1.BITNET saying SIGNOFF
VIRUS-L. People, such as students, whose accounts are going to be closed (for
example, over the summer...) - PLEASE signoff of the list before you leave.
Also, be sure to send your signoff request to the LISTSERV and not to the list
itself. Note that the appropriate node name is LEHIIBM1, not LEHIGH; there is a
node called LEHIGH, but they are *NOT* one and the same.
How do I send a message to the list?
BITNETters should just send electronic mail to VIRUS-L@LEHIIBM1.BITNET -
Internet users send to firstname.lastname@example.org - and it will automatically
be sent to the editor for possible inclusion in the next digest to go out.
Comp.virus readers can use their news readers to post to the group - their
postings will then be sent to me for possible inclusion in the next outgoing
What does VIRUS-L have to offer?
All VIRUS-L digests are stored in weekly log files which can be downloaded by
any user on (or off) the mailing list. Note that the log files contain all of
the digests from a particular week. There is also a small archive of some of
the public anti-virus programs which are currently available. This archive,
too, can be accessed by any user. All of this is handled automatically by the
LISTSERV here at Lehigh University (LISTSERV@LEHIIBM1.BITNET). Note that this
archive is somewhat dated, as it has been replaced by the Internet system,
cert.sei.cmu.edu (IP number 184.108.40.206). The archives on the
cert.sei.cmu.edu machine are all available via anonymous FTP. In addition to
the archive at Lehigh, several other comp.virus sites maintain anti-virus
archives for various computers. The list of these sites gets posted monthly to
How do I get files (including log files) from the LISTSERV?
Well, you will first want to know what files are available on the LISTSERV. To
do this, send mail to LISTSERV@LEHIIBM1.BITNET saying INDEX VIRUS-L. Note that
filenames/extensions are separated by a space, and not by a period. Once you
have decided which file(s) you want, send mail to LISTSERV@LEHIIBM1.BITNET
saying GET filename filetype. For example, GET VIRUS-L LOG8804 would get the
file called VIRUS-L LOG8804 (which happens to be the monthly log of all
messages sent to VIRUS-L during April, 1988). Note that, starting June 6, 1988,
the logs are weekly. The new file format is VIRUS-L LOGyymmx where yy is the
year (88, 89, etc.), mm is the month, and x is the week (A, B, etc.). Readers
who prefer digest format lists should read the weekly logs and sign off of the
list itself. Subsequent submissions to the list should be sent to me for
Internet users can access these same files via anonymous FTP to
Also available is a LISTSERV at SCFVM which contains more anti-virus software.
This LISTSERV can be accessed in the same manner as outlined above, with the
exceptions that the address is LISTSERV@SCFVM.BITNET and that the commands to
use are INDEX PUBLIC and GET filename filetype PUBLIC.
Why have posting guidelines?
To keep the discussions on-track with what the list is intended to be; a
vehicle for virus discussions. This will keep the network traffic to a minimum
and, hopefully, the quality of the content of the mail to a maximum.
What are the guidelines?
Try to keep messages relatively short and to the point, but with all
relevant information included. This serves a dual purpose; it keeps
network traffic to a necessary minimum, and it improves the likelihood of
readers reading your entire message.
Personal information and .signatures should be kept to the generally
accepted maximum of 5 lines of text. The editor may opt to shorten some
lengthy signatures (without deleting any relevant information, of course).
Within those 5 lines, feel free to be a bit, er, creative if you wish.
Anyone sending messages containing, for example, technical information
should *PLEASE* try to confirm their sources of information. When
possible, cite these sources. Speculating is frowned upon - it merely adds
confusion. This editor does not have the time to confirm all contributions
to the list, and may opt to discard messages which do not appear to have
valid sources of information.
All messages sent to the list should have appropriate subject lines. The
subject lines should include the type of computer to which the message
refers, when applicable. E.g., Subject: Brain virus detection (PC).
Messages without appropriate subject lines *STAND A GOOD CHANCE OF NOT
As already stated, there will be no flames on the list. Such messages will
be discarded. Politeness is strongly encouraged.
The same goes for any commercial plugs or panhandling. Anything commercial
looking will be deleted by the moderator.
Responses to queries should be sent to the author of the query, not to the
entire list. The author should then send a summary of his/her responses to
the list at a later date.
"Automatic answering machine" programs (the ones which reply to e-mail for
you when you are gone) should be set to *NOT* reply to VIRUS-L. Such
responses sent to the entire list are very rude and will be treated as
When sending in a submission, try to see whether or not someone else may
have just said the same thing. This is particularly important when
responding to postings from someone else (which should be sent to that
person *anyway*). Redundant messages will be sent back to their author(s).
Thank you for your time and for your adherence to these guidelines. Comments
and suggestions, as always, are invited. Please address them to me,
Ken van Wyk