Would a Virus By Any Other Name Smell So Foul?
Found on Slashdot this afternoon: News of an initiative by veteran government contractor Mitre Corp. to standardize names for viruses. Under this "Common Malware Enumeration" scheme, viruses would be given simple alphanumeric identifiers; for instance, one group of variants of the Zotob worm goes by the new moniker of CME-15.
I can see the logic of this in practice; the different names that various antivirus firms come up with invite no end of confusion. (CME-15 is also known as Win32/Zotob.F!Wor, Bozori.B,
Net-Worm.Win32.Bozori.b, W32/Bozori.worm.b, W32/Zotob-F,
W32.Zotob.F, and WORM_ZOTOB.F, depending on who you ask.)
Only problem is, most people have a hard time distinguishing between different, meaningless alphanumeric identifiers. When pressed, we're likely to waffle over whether our machine has come down with CME-104, CEM-114, or CRM-114.
Here's an idea: How about just calling viruses or worms by first names, as we do with hurricanes and tropical storms? You'd never have a problem remembering that it was that little strumpet Leela that/who trashed your laptop.
Washington Post consumer technology editor
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