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Who makes viruses?

  1. Aug 9, 2004 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    Has anyone here ever written a virus? Does anyone know someone who has?
    Is this an offshoot of [random] hacking or are these programs written with a specific intent? In other words and as an example, are viruses typically more about causing damage to the economy, or a particular company, say as by terrorist or other political or corporate "enemies", or are viruses the product of teenage boy[?] hormones and people with nothing better to do?

    Is there a natural progression to the evolution of viruses or are viruses typically one-off with no natural relatives.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 9, 2004 #2


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    The majority of viruses are written by white males in their late teens or early twenties in or near eastern Europe. Most of them are written simply for the novelty of seeing a creation "working." Most have no specific malicious payload. Most cause havoc only by unintentionally interfering with normal computer functions or using networking bandwidth. Some virii even escaped their authors' computers accidentally.

    A few have been custom-designed to attack specific companies, but they generally weren't successful.

    If I had to cite reasons why most virus authors write virii, they'd be boredom, fascination with the innards of computer operation, and a bit of teenage angst.

    - Warren
  4. Aug 9, 2004 #3


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    ^ pretty much.

    However, I do believe we will begin to see more and more corporate viruses. Not to mention spyware/adware, which behaves very much like a virus, yet is somehow considered legal???
  5. Aug 10, 2004 #4
    Some Virii have bad intent... For example to harvest CC numbers via a spoofed citibank email etc...

    Anyway NAI probably make the most Virii... (just like those C programmers developing more complacated versions of C [C++] to stay in work :-) )
  6. Aug 12, 2004 #5


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    Spyware and adware is considered legal if YOU click "I agree" to the EULA which contains words to the effect of "By clicking yes I agree to third party software being installed on my system blah blah blah".

    As for reasons people intentionally write malicious code, well, why do people bomb shopping centres?
  7. Aug 12, 2004 #6
    People write viruses with the intent of killing people? Seriously, I don't think virus writers should be compared to bombers. I think the mindset of a bored teenager is different than that of a bomber.
  8. Aug 12, 2004 #7


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    I've never written one, but I've taken several apart. Some are so simple that you can re-arrange the code a little and make it into a new virus. Some kids would do that just for the novelty of it.
  9. Aug 13, 2004 #8
    This is done quite a lot; recall that recently a German teenager has pleaded guilty to making a variant on a Windows virus - I forget which. My best guess regarding the original question would generally agree with Warren's - most viruses are written by young males with varying skill levels either for the lack of something better to do, to see how much annoyance they can cause, or to face off against other virus writers. It doesn't take much skill to write eg a word document virus or an email virus; even a Windows virus is relatively easy to do. IMO the most impressive viruses in terms of technical achievements were the old DOS viruses. Some of them could infect boot sectors or partition tables and apps at once, others hijacked disk I/O and slowly and invisibly encrypted your hard drive, and others employed very sophisticated mechanisms to hide their presence in memory.
  10. Aug 16, 2004 #9
    About 2 weeks ago a 17 yr old german guy was arrested.
    He was the creator of two malicious virii.
    Both attacked several company's by design.
    His motive was (according to the police) attention.
    He was rather the prototype comp. nerd, with little friends.
  11. Aug 16, 2004 #10
    A lot of these loosers "writting" viruses are script kiddies modifying others work. These are the people that always get caught.

    I must admit that i've written a few non-propagating ones as a prank once back in high school. It wasn't damaging or dangerous just embarrased some people who needed it to happen. :P
  12. Aug 21, 2004 #11


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    I have written software that has been distributed as freeware. There are no viruses or anything like this attached but I did build in a self destruct mechanism that only I am aware of. Hidden menu type of thing. I am able to do it remotely without an internet connection. Yes, computers can be hooked to other things that communicate. All it does is delete itself. Is it really popular? Not yet. Will it ever be? Not likely. Am I going to tell you what it is? Not a chance.
  13. Aug 22, 2004 #12
    Telekinesis via software

    Remote computers can be spontaneously physically hooked up to non-internet communication media solely through software control? This seems novel.

    ...Or maybe you mean that your software is intrinsically associated with non-internet communication media, and so the remote user is the entity physically connecting the computer to the media.
  14. Aug 22, 2004 #13


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    Software is useless without hardware so I think you get the picture.
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