Electronic mail infiltrated

by Timothy Fitzgibbons | 11/24/93 6:00am

An unidentified computer user has distributed a program through BlitzMail that if installed makes text run backwards and could cause programs to crash.

Several students reported receiving the program from a sender called "Dartmouth Network Services," but officials from Kiewit Computer Center said the distributor's identity has been masked by computer software.

The message had a enclosure called "File Share," according to a BlitzMail bulletin sent to network users by Nancy Hossfeld, director of user communications for Computing Services.

Hossfeld said the message was sent to students by "Network Management," a non-existent BlitzMail listing.

The message comes just a month after an unknown user posing as an administrative assistant in the government department sent messages to students in Government 49 informing them that a scheduled examination was postponed.

New mail servers that will be installed in January will tell the recipient if the message was sent from outside of the BlitzMail system, Hossfeld said.

But Hossfeld said it is impossible to completely protect Dartmouth's electronic mail system without losing connections to international networks, she said.

Fewer than six students reported receiving the latest message -- but the number of actual recipients could be higher, Hossfeld said.

She said the event was a prank and could constitute a violation of the Computing Code. Computing Services is investigating the incident, Hossfeld said.

Computing Services decided the message to Government 49 students was sent from a public computer at Dartmouth using an easily-obtainable program that makes it difficult to track the culprit, Hossfeld said.

She said chances are "not very high" that Kiewit will be able to determine who sent the message to the government class.