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"Google's Down!?!?!?!?" - Google Search Performance Flubbed by MyDoom

"Stock up on water and ammunition...Google's down!" writes one Web wag

Google confirmed yesterday that it experienced "slowness" for a short period of time because of the MyDoom virus.

Google users experienced problems whether their own computer was infected or not. This is because the virus struck at the Google's own servers, potentially slowing it down for non-infected computers using it by bombarding the search engine with requests until its servers couldn't cope.

The attack was directed at Lycos, Altavista, and Yahoo too. In Google's case, the attack received most publicity since it coincided with the company's long-awaited announcement on the value of its public flotation.

"Google's down!?!?!?!?" wrote one Internet chatroom wag, "Forgive me while I stock up on water and ammunition."

This new variant of the MyDoom "worm" - MyDoom.O - spreads by e-mail. When it infects one computer it not only looks for e-mail addresses on that computer, it looks for them via search engines as well - hence the performance problems, as Google, Lycos, Altavista, and Yahoo began receiving many more requests for information more than they normally get as the virus kept on and on saying "Give me more e-mail addresses." 

Some of the MyDoom.O subject lines to look out for:

"Delivery failed", "Message could not be delivered", "Mail System Error - Returned Mail", "Delivery reports about your e-mail", "Returned mail: see transcript for details", "Returned mail: Data format error instruction", "MAILER-DAEMON", "Mail Administrator", "Automatic Email Delivery Software", "Post Office", "The Post Office", "Bounced mail", "Returned mail", and "Mail Delivery Subsystem".

One curiosity is that, if you want to find another search engine to bookmark as a back up should the MyDoom.O virus attack again, and happen to use Google for your search-engine search...it doesn't return Google at the top of the list. A very modest approach, for a company that may shortly be valued at over $30 billion.

More Stories By Security News Desk

SYS-CON's Security News desk trawls the world of security for news of software, hardware, products, and services that seems likely to be of interest to infosec professionals and summarizes them for easy assimilation by busy IT managers and staff.

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Most Recent Comments
pbrannan 07/27/04 05:48:49 AM EDT

Some search engines:
www.lycos.com
www.altavista.com
www.infoseek.com
www.hotbot.com
www.excite.com
www.webcrawler.com
www.askjeeves.com
www.searchengines.net
www.metacrawler.com

BTW, inference find (www.infind.com) used to be my favorite engine of all, but alas, they are no more.

0x0d0a 07/27/04 05:47:27 AM EDT

AllTheWeb is mostly good for media results.

The aging, aging HotBot is still occasionally useful, as it allows one to search for pages containing links to files with a given extension, which is functionality that even Google lacks.

I just looked up the even more ancient WebCrawler -- turns out that they''ve since become a metaengine for Google, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves, About, Overture, and Teoma.

Search Ace 07/27/04 05:09:58 AM EDT

Hey, does anyone out there still use Metacrawler?

gmuslera 07/27/04 05:08:28 AM EDT

AllTheWeb and Teoma are good alternatives. And you have also metasearchers, that not only search google, but also others. If you want almost the opposite of google in simplicity, you can try Kartoo, where you can have graphs with aggrupations on search results, flash animations and things like that.

kbahey 07/27/04 05:05:25 AM EDT

Try mamma.com, The Mother of all Search Engines.

Googler45 07/27/04 05:03:26 AM EDT

How about using SETS at Google LABS to find those other search engines you speak of?

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