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Monday, October 28 12:01 AM EST

Virus Writer's Mom Makes Him
Apologize to Everyone

By Brian Briggs

Ann Arbor, MI - In the first major case of a cure being worse than the disease since George W. Bush replaced Bill Clinton, the 15-year-old author of the self-propagating Goldbear email virus that clogged computer networks last week was forced yesterday to apologize in writing to all of his victims.

Unfortunately, the Goldbear apology sends itself to everyone in a victim's address book, and has now surpassed the original virus as the top threat on the Internet, according to Symantec's anti-virus research team.

"This is the first time we've ever seen a virus writer attempt to physically atone for his transgressions, so we were caught completely unawares," admitted Symantec spokesman Allan Geddis.

In fact, Geddis said Symantec has sent out numerous advisories in the past 12 hours urging users not to accept the apology which read:

Dear Outlook Express user,

I'm really sorry I screwed up your computer with my virus. My mom is making me do this so you can trust me this time and click on the attachment. It will disinfect your computer, honest! It'll also patch your computer so I can never do this again.

With Deepest Apologies,
Justin Rayburn

Reached at her home in Ann Arbor, Mich., Maryanne Rayburn said she discovered only two days ago in IRC that her son was the author of Goldbear.

"He was raised a good Catholic, so his first response was to cover it up, but I wouldn't allow it," said Rayburn. "I told Justin that I don't care if it is the cool thing to do, he can't go around bringing down the entire Internet just because all his friends are doing it. I mean really, if all his friends jumped off a cliff, or started using Outlook Express, would he do that too?"

"Geekdom is wasted on the young," she added. "Why can't he find more challenging pursuits, like exploiting buffer overflows in IIS?"

Informed that her son's atonement had now created more problems than the initial crime, a clearly exasperated Mrs. Rayburn said Justin would have to make up for it. "I guess I could make him apologize for his apology," she said.

"No! No, please don't," Geddis responded.

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