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This Day in Computer History: November 24

written by: Pipedreamergrey•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 11/24/2008

Today marks the anniversary of AOL's acquisition of Netscape and the release of the BadTrans worm. Read about these events and more in "This Day in Computer History", a chronology of notable events in the computer, ecommerce, and software industries on this day in history.

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    This Day in Computer History

    1998

    America Online (AOL) announced that it would acquire software developer Netscape Communications for roughly $4.2 billion in stock, but at the same time, the company is quick and clear in stating that Microsoft’s Internet Explorer would remain the default browser for AOL users (a fact that would play a prominent part later in Microsoft's anti-trust trial).

    1999

    In Miami-Dade County, the law firm Haggard & Parks, P.A. in Coral Gables, Florida files a class-action lawsuit against Microsoft. The suit alleges that Microsoft has used predatory practices to consistently over-charge consumers for the Windows 95 and 98 operating systems.

    Version 1.02 of the iMesh file sharing/social network hybrid was first released. Though the application was a "pre-beta" release, it spread rapidly across the internet due to its introduction of a number of innovative features. iMesh was the first filesharing application to introduce a "swarming" feature, the ability to draw a single file from more than one source to increase its download speed. It was also the first company to introduce what would become a standard in the field, an actual functional "resume" feature.

    2001

    The BadTrans computer worm was released into the wild. The malicious worm was disseminated via email messages which exploited a vulnerability commonly found in older versions of either Microsoft’s Outlook or Outlook Express applications. Once activated, the worm would would install a keystroke logger before transmitting duplicates of itself to the addresses contained in the victim's address book. Left unchecked, the worm's keystroke logger would continue to send logs to free e-mail accounts at Excite, IJustGotFired.com, or Yahoo, which, within twenty-fours of the virus's release, received well over 100,000 such logs.

    The website of the San Diego-based internet service provider Qualcomm was hacked anonymously by someone at the University of Wisconsin.

    2003

    Version 8.4.5 of the Tcl/Tk programming language was released.

    2005

    A variant of the Sober virus, the twenty-fifth such variant, was discovered in the wild. This variant was disseminated in an e-mail disguised as a message from the CIA, FBI, or German BKA with the subject line "You visit illegal websites" or "Your IP was logged" claiming that the recipient had been detected visiting illegal sites and requiring them to fill out an attached questionnaire that actually deploys the virus. MessageLabs reported having filtered three million copies of the virus in the first twenty-four hours after its release while Postini reported seven million, marking this variant as one of the most successful yet seen.