Melissa takes down Marine Corps e-mail

The fast-spreading e-mail virus "Melissa" has forced the Marine Corps to shut down its base-to-base e-mail communications at least until tomorrow, a spokeswoman for the Marines confirmed today.

According to the spokeswoman, the Marines are able to communicate internally within each base, but all base-to-base e-mail connectivity has been shut down until network administrators feel comfortable that they have taken the appropriate security measures to protect against the virus. Other Internet connections between bases has not been affected.

A spokeswoman for the Defense Department's Joint Task Force for Computer Network Defense said the Army and the Air Force took their servicewide servers down over the weekend to purge them of any messages that might contain the Melissa macrovirus.

Melissa began infecting systems across the country late last week and comes in the form of an e-mail attachment. While the virus does no harm to an organization's data or software, it can slow down and eventually crash the e-mail server. The virus propagates itself by using a PC user's e-mail address book to forward itself to other users.

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