Threat Description



Aliases:Tuxissa, Attack of the Tuxissa, April Fools Day Hoax
Category: Malware
Platform: W32


The below message warning about the attack of Tuxissa virus is an April Fools Day joke. There's no virus with this name and with such capabilities as described below.


Automatic action

Once detected, the F-Secure security product will automatically disinfect the suspect file by either deleting it or renaming it.


You may wish to refer to the Support Community for further assistance. You also may also refer to General Removal Instructions for a general guide on alternative disinfection actions.

Technical Details

Topic: Attack of the Tuxissa Virus
 This advisory is intended primarily for network administrators
 responsible for luser configuration and maintenance.
 Attack of the Tuxissa Virus
 March 29, 1999
 What started out as a prank posting to comp.os.linux.advocacy
 yesterday has turned into one of the most significant viruses in
 computing history.The creator of the virus, who goes by the
 moniker "Anonymous Longhair", modified the well-known Melissa[1]
 virus to download and install Linux on infected machines.
 "It's a work of art," one Linux advocate told Humorix after he
 looked through the Tuxissa virus source code.  "This virus goes
 well beyond the feeble troublemaking of Melissa."  The advocate
 enumerated some of the tasks the virus performs in the
 background while the user is blissfully playing Solitaire:
 Once the virus is activated, it first works on propogating
 itself. It has a built-in email harvesting module that downloads
 all the pages referenced in the user's Internet Explorer
 bookmarks and scans them for email addresses. Using Outlook, the
 virus sends a copy of itself to every email address it comes
 After it has successfully reproduced, the virus begins the
 tricky process of upgrading the system to Linux.First, the
 virus modifies AUTOEXEC.BAT so that the virus will be
 re-activated if the system crashes or is shut down while the
 upgrade is in process. Second, the virus downloads a
 stripped-down Slackware distribution, using a lengthy list of
 mirror sites to prevent the virus from overloading any one
 Then the virus configures a UMSDOS filesystem to install Linux
 on.  Since this filesystem resides on a FAT partition, there is
 no need to re-partition the hard drive, one of the few actions
 that the Word macro language doesn't allow.
 Next, the virus uncompresses the downloaded files into the new
 Linux filesystem.  The virus then permanently deletes all copies
 of the Windows Registry, virtually preventing the user from
 booting into Windows without a re-install. After modifying the
 boot sector, the virus terminates its own life by rebooting the
 system. The computer boots into the Slackware setup program,
 which automatically finishes the installation of Linux.
 Finally, the dazed user is presented with the Linux login prompt
 and the text, "Welcome to Linux.  You'll never want to use
 Windows again. Type 'root' to begin..."
 The whole process take about two hours, assuming the user has a
 decent Internet connection.  Since the virus runs invisibly in
 the background, the user has no chance to stop it until it's too
 The email message that the virus is attached to has the subject
 "Important Message About Windows Security".  The text of the
 body says, "I want to let you know about some security problems
 I've uncovered in Windows 95/98/NT, Office 95/97, and Outlook.
 It's critically important that you protect your system against
 these attacks.  Visit these sites for more information..."  The
 rest of the message contains 42 links to sites about Linux and
 free software.
 Slashdot is one of those links.  "That could spell trouble," one
 Slashdot expert told Humorix.  "Slashdot could fall victim to
 the new 'Macro Virus Effect' if this virus continues to
 propogate at its present exponential growth rate.  Red Hat's
 portal site, another site present on the virus' links list,
 seems to be quite sluggish right now..."
 Details on how the virus started are a bit sketchy.  The
 "Anonymous Longhair" who created it only posted it to Usenet as
 an early April Fool's gag, a demonstration of how easy it would
 be to mount a "Linux revolution".  Some other Usenet reader is
 responsible for actually spreading the virus into the wild.  One
 observer speculated, "I imagine the virus was first sent to the
 addresses of several well-known spammers.  The virus probably
 latched on to the spammer's email lists and began propagating at
 a fantastic rate.  With no boundary to its growth, this thing
 could wind up infecting every single Net-connected Wintel box in
 the world.  Wouldn't that be a shame!"
 Linus Torvalds, who just left for a two week vacation, was
 unavailable for comment at press time.  We have a strong feeling
 that his vacation will be cut short very soon...
 James S. Baughn


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