[PLUG] Dual-OS virus story

Geoff Burling llywrch at agora.rdrop.com
Thu Jun 6 13:01:55 PDT 2002

On Thu, 6 Jun 2002, Craighead, Scot D wrote:

> Thanks, that's reassuring.  I guess I just can't understand the motivation
> that these people have to write destructive code.  I can understand the
> juvinile delinquent script kiddies, but it doesn't seem like they would have
> the skills or the deligence to write something this complex.  Personally, if
> I was going to spend that much time and effort on writing code, I would want
> to write something that would make me some money.  I don't think it would
> look good on a resume to say that you were the main developer on the Melissa
> Virus project...
My guess about virus writers is that they don't have access to real
programing tools, like a compiler or decent scripting langauges (name
your poison here). The first big wave of viruses was back in the late
1980s & early 90s when most computer users were limited to what came
installed with DOS: debug & assembler. It was far easier to write
a virus than, say, a word processor, so a lot of viruses were created
as learning exercises. And many fell into the hands of malicious folks.

Now that the Internet has made good quality compilers available for
the cost of a lengthy download, most would-be virus writers have moved
on to more interesting -- & rewarding -- projects. And it shows in that
where once there were hundreds of infective or boot viruses, now there
are only a few dozen VB viruses. In response to Scot's comment, there
are certain circles where saying you wrote the Melissa virus indeed
earns you cred; but these are very small circles, & aren't very supportive.


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