The Worm Before Christmas
Twas the night before finals
and all through the lab
Not a student was sleeping, not even McNabb.
Their projects were finished, completed with care
In hopes that the grades would be easy (and fair).
The students were wired with caffeine in their veins
While visions of quals nearly drove them insane.
With piles of books and a brand-new highlighter,
I had just settled down for another all-nighter --
When out from our gateways arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter
Away to the console I flew like a flash
And logged on as root to fend off a crash
The windows displayed on my brand new Sun-3
Gave oodles of info -- some in 3-D.
When, what to my burning red eyes should appear
But dozens of "nobody" jobs. Oh dear!
With a blitzkrieg invasion, so virulent and firm,
I knew in a moment. It was Morris's Worm!
More rapid than eagles his processes came
And they forked and exec'd and they copied by name!
"Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On Comet! On Cupid! On Donner and Blitzen!
To the sites in .rhosts and host.eqi
Now, dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
[ Note: the machines dasher.cs.uiuc.edu,
dancer.cs.uiuc.edu, prancer.cs.uiuc.edu, etc., have been renamed
deer1, deer2, deer3, etc., so as not to confuse the already burdened
students who use those machines. We regret that this poem reflects
the older naming scheme and hope it does not confuse the network
administrator at your site. -Ed. ]
And then in a twinkling, I heard on the phone,
The complaints of the users (thought I was alone!)
"The load is too high!" "I can't read my files!"
"I can't send my mail over miles and miles!"
I unplugged the net, and was turning around,
When the worm-ridden system went down with a bound.
I frettedI fritteredI sweatedI wept.
Then finally I core dumped the worm in /tmp.
It was smart and pervasive, a right jolly old stealth,
And I laughed when I saw it, in spite of myself.
A look at the dump of that invasive thread
Soon gave me to know we had nothing to dread.
The next day was slow with no network connections
For we wanted no more of those pesky infections.
But in spite of the news and the noise and the clatter
Soon all became normal, as if naught were the matter.
Then later that month, while all were away,
A virus came calling, and then went away.
The system then told us, when we logged in one night:
"Happy Christmas to all! (You guys aren't so bright.)"
Please get in touch if you know who to credit