Cyberculting

A blog about Cyberculture and ICTs.

All I really want

Posted by candacewhitehead on May 12, 2008

My computer has a virus. Well, more than one. In fact, my antivirus claims to have picked up 8 849 infiltrations. And the first thing I thought – WHY would anyone want to write a virus?

 

I found an article asking the same question, and providing a more comprehensive answer than “because they’re bored/socially challenged/evil”, which were some of the responses I got when asking what people thought.

 

Basically the article suggests that people create viruses

  • To take control of a computer and use it for specific tasks
  • To generate money
  • To steal sensitive information (credit card numbers, passwords, personal details, data etc.)
  • To prove a point, to prove it can be done, to prove ones skill or for revenge purposes
  • To cripple a computer or network

One of these fascinated me – I could see the potential for all of the others, but I was interested in the penultimate point – to prove a point, or for revenge purposes. This is the one that contributes most to the stereotype of virus-creators. The example given is of the “MS.Blaster” virus. When it got itself onto your machine, it displayed two messages “I just want to say I LOVE YOU SAN” and “Billy gates why do you make this possible? Stop making money and fix your software!” This, supposedly, was to show how easily exploitable Windows is. And it worked. And possibly embarrassed the hell out of San.

 

This is the online version of sticking super-glue on the seat of the class bully after they teased you on the playground. It doesn’t permanently hurt them, it’s really irritating, and it makes them mad enough to come find you on the playground the next day. So why do it?

 

If the person who wrote the virus were to have marched into Microsoft and said “Your new software sucks, fix it”, they would have been thrown out the door in ten minutes flat. The executives would have politely laughed, had the poor sod quietly escorted out, and carried on congratulating themselves at how clever they were.

 

Instead, the virus-creator goes home and whips up a code that does not only show Microsoft how crap their latest OS is, but also shows millions of other people how easily it can be bypassed.

 

It is still annoying removing the other 8000 viruses that were created for the other purposes on the list. Fortunately, there has been very little visible damage to my computer – and I don’t have a credit card, or do Internet banking without my antivirus.

 

Point proven.

 

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One Response to “All I really want”

  1. funalaakie said

    What’s also interesting is that the majority of virus creators (the hectic viruses – ones that pretty much put your computer down) are some of the best software developers you’ll come across. They are always a step ahead of the ‘good guys.’ I remember when I was about 10 and my older brother always did something virus-related to our computer which prevented me from playing my games! If only such people could harness their powers for good rather than evil.

    Regards
    Inspector Gadget

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