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The Melissa virus was a mass-mailing macro virus. As it was not a standalone program, it was not a worm. It targeted Microsoft Word and Outlook-based systems, and created considerable network traffic.

Common nameMelissa
Technical nameW97M.Melissa.A
TypeMacro virus
Author(s)David L. Smith
Operating system(s) affectedWindows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP[1]

Around March 26, 1999, the Melissa virus was released by David L. Smith of Aberdeen Township, New Jersey.[2] The virus itself was credited to Kwyjibo, who was shown to be the macrovirus writers VicodinES and ALT-F11 by comparing Microsoft Word documents with the same globally unique identifier — this method was also used to trace the virus back to Smith. On December 10, 1999, Smith pleaded guilty to releasing the virus and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, serving 20 months. He was also fined US $5,000.[3] The arrest was the result of a collaborative effort involving (amongst others) the FBI, the New Jersey State Police, Monmouth Internet, and a Swedish computer scientist. David L. Smith was accused of causing $80 million worth of damages by disrupting personal computers and computer networks in business and government.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "W97M.Melissa.A". Symantec. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  2. ^ Poulson. "Justice mysteriously delayed for 'Melissa' author".
  3. ^ "Creator of Melissa Computer Virus Sentenced to 20 Months in Federal Prison" (Press release). U.S. Department of Justice. 2002-05-01. Retrieved 2006-08-30.
  4. ^ Tracking Melissa's alter egos, ZDNet, 1999-04-02

External linksEdit