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The Melissa virus is a macro virus that was spread through email attachments in 1999. It was originally contained within a Microsoft Word file that, once opened, emailed the virus to 50 addresses within the victim’s address book. Although the original Melissa had no malicious payload, variants soon appeared that could delete or destroy Microsoft Excel documents.
The Melissa virus may also be known as Mailissa, Simpsons, Kwyjibo or Kwejeebo.
The original Melissa increased the overall burden on email servers every time it infected a new user and eventually resulted in server overload, turning Melissa into a denial of service (DOS) attack. Most of the damages associated with Melissa were the result of lost productivity while email servers were down.
Several sources reported that the designer of the virus, David Smith, named Melissa after a Miami stripper he admired.