From: Bob Rankin 
Subject: TOURBUS - 13 Jun 02 - SPAM and JPEGs


The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

Howdy Riders! Today I've got a bag full of irony for ya. First, a story about S-P-A-M (the real stuff, not the annoying electronic kind) and then we'll finish with an update on the Dreaded JPEG Vi_rus.

[- Alert readers will notice that this issue contains a bunch of seemingly extraneous dashes and underscores. Well even if you're not alert, now you know. I have to add those extra characters to foil over-zealous (read "brain-dead") email filtering programs. Without this measure, many of you would not be reading this now! -]


Once upon a time, S-P-A-M was a good thing. Well, at least it wasn't a bad thing. Ummm, what I mean is, there was a time long before the Internet when S-P-A-M was just lunch meat in a can. It may be true (as Partick Crispen says) that S-P-A-M has the shelf-life of gravel, but for all the good-natured abuse that is heaped upon Hormel's head, the stuff really isn't that bad. After all, it's just pork, ham, salt, water and sugar.

If you're curious about how S-P-A-M became a slang term for unwanted email, read all about it on the S-P-A-M website. The folks at Hormel really deserve credit for going with the flow on this.

And if you're in the midwestern USA, why not take Dad to the S-P-A-M JAM to celebrate the opening of the S-P-A-M Museum in Minnesota this Saturday? Hey, it's 16,500 square feet of fun, games and exhibits. If you've already made plans for the weekend, don't despair. The S-P-A-M website offers up a generous serving of S-P-A-M history, trivia and recipes!


For at least ten years there has been a false rumor stating that you could get a vi_rus by viewing a JPEG image file. I'm almost certain that this ho-ax was created by someone who thought it might be an effective deterrent to the spread of online po_rn. Of course it's not true, but these stories just won't die.

Because a JPEG is just data and not an executable (program) file, it can't jump up and bite you. And just for the record, there's no good reason to associate JPEGs with po_rn. An image in a .JPG file can be a flower, a puppy, or a toaster. Hmmm, none of those things wear clothes. Well never mind that -- you know what I mean!

--> "But wait..." someone in the back of the bus is ranting, "I just --> heard from my Cousin Vinny that there's a NEW vi_rus that spreads --> through JPEGs!"

Sigh... Cousin Vinny is wrong again. There was a CNET news story today about "infected JPEGs" but let's not get carried away. The W32/P-e-r-r-u-n vi_rus has two parts:

  • corrupted JPEG images that contain extra non-image code
  • a viral program that extracts this code from the corrupted JPEGs
  • and infects other JPEGs on the system as they are opened.

    There are several important things to note about W32/P-e-r-r-u-n. First, these "infected JPEGs" are HARMLESS without the viral program. Second, W32/P-e-r-r-u-n DOES NOT EXIST on the Internet. It was created by a researcher and sent only to major anti-vi_rus companies for analysis. It's a computer science lab experiment - nothing more. Click on the link below to read the CNET story on W32/P-e-r-r-u-n.

    That's all for now, see you next time! --Bob


    The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
    Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
    SPAM and JPEGs, viruses, hoaxes, urban legends, search engines, cookies, cool sites
    TOURBUS Site Search