Melissa is a combination Word macro virus and E-mail worm.

Melissa is a combination Word macro virus and E-mail worm. It was first found on Friday, 26 March 1999 and spread very rapidly around the world.

Basically, when a user clicked on the DOC file attached to the E-mail they would run the included Word macro virus. One of the first things the virus would do is to format and send a message to the first 50 addresses in your Outlook address book. The subject would be “Important Message From <your username>” and the message body would say “Here is that document you asked for …don’t show anyone else ;-)”. Attached to this message is the current document you are working on. Since Melissa is a virus and infects the Word NORMAL.DOC file it’s possible that the infected file sent out could be something very important from your system and not just the infected document you received.

In the rare case where the minute and day of the month are the same (e.g., 8:08 on 8 July) the virus will insert the phrase “twenty-two, plus triple-word-score, plus fifty points for using all my letters. Game’s over. I’m outta here.” into the current document. (This is a reference from the Simpsons cartoon series.)

The initial distribution of Melissa was as a file called LIST.DOC that contained passwords for X-rated websites. It was posted into the usenet group

There were a significant number of Melissa variants.

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