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20th Anniversary Of Computer Viruses Commemorated

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the nasty-man-makes-crevasse dept.

Bug 260

DoraLives writes "Our good friends at the BBC are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the computer virus. So, viruses are no longer teenagers and are now entering adulthood, as 'there are almost 60,000 viruses in existence and they have gone from being a nuisance to a permanent menace.' What wonders shall there be to come, as these marvelous bits of code continue to grow and multiply?" We ran a recent BBC-authored story on the psychology of virus writers.

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260 comments

"Celebrate"? (4, Insightful)

ummit (248909) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436387)

Maybe I'm just a grumpy old curmudgeon, but I don't see what there is to celebrate here, or what is about these little bits of code that's so "marvelous".

Re:"Celebrate"? (1)

ChopsMIDI (613634) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436408)

Well despite the fact that they are quite malicious, some of those viruses are pretty clever.

Wait a year. (4, Funny)

missing000 (602285) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436532)

Well despite the fact that they are quite malicious, some of those viruses are pretty clever.

Think about it. This really is something to celebrate.

Next year the viruses can legally drink.

A drunken virus should be much easier to thwack.

Wrong anniversary, this is their 21st. (4, Informative)

plover (150551) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436687)

I remember an article in Scientific American that spoke to a young man named Richard Skrenta, who wrote an Apple ][ virus in 1982. I remember him bemoaning the fact that "it got onto his disks, the math teacher's disks and all his friends disks."

Sorry, but Fred Cohen was not the first virus writer.

These viruses can already drink, and they can probably vote on a Diebold machine. They may already have...

Re:"Celebrate"? (5, Funny)

bananaape (542919) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436410)

If there weren't viruses to exploit holes, then holes would not get fixed.

If it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger... something like that.

Re:"Celebrate"? (1)

NickDngr (561211) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436519)

If there weren't viruses to exploit holes, then holes would not get fixed.

But is there were no viruses to exploit the holes, then the holes would not need to be fixed.

Re:"Celebrate"? (1)

Frymaster (171343) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436619)

But is there were no viruses to exploit the holes, then the holes would not need to be fixed

uh, that's why the parent post got +3 funny. irony, you know.

more importantly! if there weren't viruses, how many of us would be out of a job? now that's something to celebrate.

Re:"Celebrate"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7436695)

I exploited your mom's hole and got a virus!

"Celebrate"?-Do the viral dance. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7436560)

"If it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger... something like that."

Woo Hoo! Let's hear it for SARS and Ebola.

Re:"Celebrate"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7436613)

Any bets on long it will take for the ultimate "exploit hole" link to be posted?

Re:"Celebrate"? (1)

bananaape (542919) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436689)

This one time, my friend told me his administrator password for his Win2k server. I proceeded to use Terminal Services to get on his system, I wrote a batch file that would infinitely append itself to the end of itself, and I let it keep going after disconnecting my session.

He couldn't figure out why his server was going extremely slow due to command.com using 99% of the CPU, and he didn't want to restart becase he was going for some personal uptime record, so he let it run for 3 days before I finally told him.

He changed his administrator password, and the problem was fixed.

That is my only virus contribution to the world.

Re:"Celebrate"? (1)

Davak (526912) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436552)

I have always wanted a bit of code that would replicate in my system and could randomly try to perform natural windows functions.

If it didn't do anything --> it would die
If I didn't like it --> it would die

However, it would randomly change and replicate until it did something I liked. Maybe it would even grab programs that I use a lot and try to borrow functions from them.

Things like this are nice experiments for virus-type structures. The virus that works well I would let live and continue to "mutate" and change. The ones that don't... I kill off.

Search code could be this way as well. Randomly change the code and have an external program measure the speed of the searches. If the searches are improving, the external program supports that virus line... if it's get slower, then it would kill it off.

The cool parts of the biology of viruses should be brought to the computer world... ... too bad we just focus on the damage that they do.

Davak

Re:"Celebrate"? (1)

smackjer (697558) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436592)

Software != Biology

This might be a good thing or a bad thing, but it's true. While software and biological viruses share some traits (especially in the reproductive sense) the potential "positive" aspects of a virus are basically nil in the software world.

Actually, I'm not familiar with any biological viruses that have proven beneficial, other than having the effect of strengthening the hosts immune system (which is observed in software systems as well, with improvements in virus detection systems).

Bacteria, on the other hand...

Re:"Celebrate"? (1)

Dan-DAFC (545776) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436703)

Search code could be this way as well. Randomly change the code and have an external program measure the speed of the searches. If the searches are improving, the external program supports that virus line... if it's get slower, then it would kill it off.

You have pretty much just described a genetic algorithm [felk.cvut.cz]. I can thoroughly recommend this book [amazon.co.uk] as a good starting point for learning about genetic algorithms.

Re:"Celebrate"? (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436626)

Most of these viruses, espically the early ones were examples of expert coding. Extremely clever viruses that were unbelieveably tiny and worked well, taking them apart tought you alot about the sheer genius behind them.

today, the viruses are copycats or from virus kits or just plain wannabe's writing junk that happens to work and take advantage of huge holes.

I suggest you actually learn about these buggers, they are absolutely facinating and the early ones are just plain old damned impressive.

It's like the old Demo scene... amazing things with tiny bits of code.

Re:"Celebrate"? (1)

morleron (574428) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436648)

I think I'll join you over in the curmudgeon corner. Why our society chooses to "celebrate" the accomplishments of a bunch of immature vandals is beyond me. I think that it's time to start going after the source of the vast majority of the problems that viruses cause: Microsoft. Until that company is held responsible for the problems that its shoddy products give rise to we will not see a decrease in the virus problem. Let's see, Ford can be sued for exploding Pintos, Firestone can be sued for exploding tires: why can't we sue MS for exploding OSes?

Just my $.02,
Ron

thank you, thank you.. (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436397)


We'd like to thank the Academy, the little people and most of all Microsoft for making all this possible. Here's to another 20 good years.

[applause]

HEY WHORE (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7436436)

SHUT YOUR WHOREHOLE!

Re:HEY WHORE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7436454)

fag

Re:thank you, thank you.. (1, Insightful)

DasAlbatross (633390) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436456)

Blaming it on Microsoft is foolish. There are exploits in every OS out there. People write for MS because it's what people use.

Re:thank you, thank you.. (3, Interesting)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436490)


People write for MS because it's what people use.

Microsoft apologism.
There were viruses on the Mac "back in the day", UNIX worms and Linux worms but MS doesn't have enough fingers to stick in the dike. Consumer product recalls don't come about because many people use them, they come about because of flaws in the product. Software companies are immume to these types of recalls and we all pay.

SHUT UP WHORE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7436523)

Re:thank you, thank you.. (2, Insightful)

DasAlbatross (633390) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436693)

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Microsoft is putting out a solid OS, I'm just saying that it's flaws are overexposed but the sheer amount of use it gets. I know that the bugs reported on software I write is directly proportional to the number of people using it. Users will find the most asinine, crackheaded things to do with your software and Microsoft has more asinine crackheads using it than anyone else.

Re:thank you, thank you.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7436499)

But Microsoft writes the best virus OS money can buy.

Re:thank you, thank you.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7436574)


s/best/only/g

Re:thank you, thank you.. (1)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436599)

Wait a minute. That's way too short. You have to thank Melissa, and Ana, god bless.

And all the folks who double clicked on me, in alphebetical order: Aarron Aardvark, Adam Acres, Audry Acres, Barnaby Acres ...

do *NOT* read that article: you already read it (-1, Troll)

flok (24996) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436398)

It has been mentioned before on Slashdot:

http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/11/08/195024 7&mode=flat&tid=126&tid=128&ti [slashdot.org]
d=172

Re:do *NOT* read that article: you already read it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7436442)

This slashdot what really are the odds that the article been read by anyone?

Q: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7436407)

What's the difference between Pepsi and Jessica Lynch's captors?

A: Pepsi doesn't come in white cans

One more year and... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7436409)

They can legally drink?

Seriously, whats the significance of 20 years? Why does this warrant a /. story?

Re:One more year and... (2, Insightful)

F34nor (321515) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436463)

Twenty one is the legal drinking age lat time I checked. But...

It represents a full generation. e.g. One cadre of people have grown up for their whole lives in contact with both the realities of the thing and the meme.

This might inicate both better virus and better defenses.

It also might just be a slow day for the news.

Re:One more year and... (1)

hesiod (111176) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436600)

> > One more year and... (Score:1)
> > They can legally drink?
> Twenty one is the legal drinking age last time I checked. But...


Wow, Twenty plus one equals 21! You're both right!

Re:One more year and... (1)

Kyont (145761) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436481)

Y2K Dogbert quote: because it's "a big, round number... biigg and rouunndd...". Mwahahahaa!

The first picture in the article... (2, Funny)

momerath2003 (606823) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436429)

support@microsoft.com
support@microsoft.com
supp ort@microsoft.com


They let it happen; now, they're sending it to your doorstep.

Re:The first picture in the article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7436496)

Make "PhyicsExpert" [slashdot.org], the worst kind of troll, your foe!

Do you want to elaborate on this? I find PhysicsExpert entertaining ...

Scary (5, Funny)

metlin (258108) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436432)

Whats scary is that this article is right next after one that says Microsoft Moving Into Chip Design [slashdot.org]. Is this an omen of some sorts?

Disturbing. Very disturbing.

Re:Scary (2, Insightful)

bigberk (547360) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436512)

Whats scary is that this article is right next after one that says Microsoft Moving Into Chip Design
Good point. Electrical Engineers know that microcontrollers rule the world. Now although Microsoft is interested in the gaming side of things, I for one would be terribly worried if Microsoft actually started to get the world to use its microcontrollers (along the lines of Motorola 68K etc.). These core units are found in just about every electrical device you have contact with. I would seriously shit my pants if Microsoft-made hardware found its way into critical equipment.

What wonders shall there be to come (4, Insightful)

bigberk (547360) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436438)

Just you wait [sysdesign.ca], there's more in store. Except it seems now that virus authors have major financial backing (spammers) and are establishing a sophisticated zombie infrastructure running on Windows [microsoft.com] machines that will cause years of serious trouble. Time to start seriously prosecuting these a$$holes (spammers, virus authors, or Microsoft... you decide!)

What wonders shall there be to come-Movie-"BOMBS". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7436483)

"Time to start seriously prosecuting these a$$holes (spammers, virus authors, or Microsoft... you decide!)"

I'd like that technology they have in the movies that causes computers to explode. Send me a virus, will you? Take that! Trojan me? BOOM!

Re:What wonders shall there be to come (1)

pvt_medic (715692) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436542)

Reminds me of the age old problem, who do you focus on the drug users or the drug distributors. Its a lot easier to findd the users but the end result is not much. You get the distributors and you do a lot more damage. Now you have to decide who is the users and who is the distributors....

GOATSE VIRUS (-1)

SpongeScrodSpareCock (717608) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436459)

I am personally fond of the GOATSE [goatse.cx] virus.


did you notice the department? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7436557)

from the nasty-man-makes-crevasse dept.

So what does this have to do with goatse anyway?

Aren't they at least 21? (5, Interesting)

xanthines-R-yummy (635710) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436462)

wasn't the first boot sector virus written around 1982 on what was then called the Nova system? i believe it infected the track 0 of the diablo disk drives.

Anyone old enough to know what I'm talking about?

Yes, I am (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7436546)

Anyone old enough to know what I'm talking about?

Yes. I am old enough to know what you are talking about.

However, that doesn't mean I do know what you are talking about.

Anyone remember this one... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7436467)

"Something wonderful has happened...Your Amiga is alive!"

Good ol' days.... ;)

Only 60,000 ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7436468)

I remember about 5 or 6 years ago, back when I last used AntiVirus software (I've since then stopped due to degraded PC performance, I don't accept email attachments or open ambiguous executables and I also hit windowsupdate daily and have never had any issues) there was claimed to be over 50,000 virii known to McAfee.

Has the growth slowed down or something?

If anything I thought there would be much more today with the staggering amount of computer users (and crackers/hackers/elite people whatever you wan't to call them).

Or is this a good sign? Maybe since more and more people use AV software the authors just figure its not as easy anymore?

Re:Only 60,000 ? (1)

simi-lost (639853) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436686)

Sounds like some pretty unsafe computing to me. It has more to do than with attachments, or executables. The ONLY way you would ever avoid getting a virus without running an A-V would to be NEVER hook a phone line or Wireless, or network cable of ANY sort to your computer, and NEVER put in ANY kind of removable media. This kind of computing is very unsafe. It only takes one bad website you drive by to infect your machine. I hope you practice safe sex better than this. I hope you do more than shove a cork in the hole of your pecker, and I also hope you never bang you peter on the side of the urinal to dry it...

Viruses signal the organic nature of the net (5, Insightful)

heironymouscoward (683461) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436470)

Put enough people into a system and it starts to behave like an organic system rather than individuals each doing their thing.

Viruses, worms, trojans are way past the point of being expressions of individualistic derangement.

They represent the nasty side of the biology of the Net: the fact that any simulated or real ecosystem produces more parasites than non-parasites, and that non-parasites have to spend a significant amount of energy fighting off the bugs.

Two decades is not significant in itself, but it should be a stark warning that viruses are not going to go away, that the Net is turning "wild", and that we need something other than daily antivirus updates to keep our systems safe.

Re:Viruses signal the organic nature of the net (1)

dekashizl (663505) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436668)

They represent the nasty side of the biology of the Net: the fact that any simulated or real ecosystem produces more parasites than non-parasites, and that non-parasites have to spend a significant amount of energy fighting off the bugs.
The difference here is that we, as people, have an almost unlimited power, as compared to our physical biological ecosystem(s).

Our ability to alter the fabric of i-space (dynamic network reconfigurations, recompilable open-source megastructures, ...) provides somewhat divine powers over the ecosystem.

So rather than spending "a significant amount of energy fighting off the bugs", we will instead construct a system that is self-maintaining and actually utilizes the parasitic nature available for good (think of the "good" bacteria in your stomach).

I believe that the concept of Digital Rights is the key that will allow us to lock order into this future.

I also believe that several human generations will pass before we are able to sieze the reigns of DRM from corporate "dinosaurs" and propel ourselves as individuals into this new age.

This will be a world-wide revolution of a nature that cannot even be comprehended.

XBox viruses? (5, Interesting)

3Suns (250606) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436478)

Hmm, I just thought of something when looking at the top 2 stories... Why aren't there any XBox viruses? It seems like a prime target for worms, with internet connectivity via XBox Live, a well-published interface for firmware hacking via software, a homogenous monoculture of both hardware and software, not to mention probably dozens of well-known vulnerabilities from its use of Windows and DirectX alone. Is there anything special about the XBox that is protecting it more than PCs from a plague of viruses?

Re:XBox viruses? (3, Insightful)

Jeedo (624414) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436517)

Yes, unlike windows it doesnt have any ports open by default.

Re:XBox viruses? (0)

Sqwubbsy (723014) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436568)

Do you think they'll change that now that they're designing the chipset?
Seriously, if they do it on the OS level, might they do it on the 'black box'?

Re:XBox viruses? (2, Funny)

dknight (202308) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436558)

You just HAD to go and give them ideas, didnt you?

Now we're all going to be flooded by worms/viruses from zombie X-boxes.

I'll remember to blame YOU for this.

Re:XBox viruses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7436570)

Unsigned code can't be run on the xbox without a modchip (or with various hardware tricks that require physical access).

You can't connect to xbox live with a mod chip enabled. So no unsigned code can be delivered and run via xbox live.

Welcome to a preview of future version of windows with all kinds of DRM fun.

Re:XBox viruses? (1)

sverrehu (22545) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436610)

There's a patent on XBox viruses, so you probably won't see any until the patent expires in 2018.

Re:XBox viruses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7436634)

because script kiddies can toy around with the windows boxes their mommys buy for them, but dont want to mess with that xbox in the same manner

Re:XBox viruses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7436653)

Doesn't the XBox only execute code that is Digitally signed? So wouldn't only a small percentage of people that have modded their XBoxes be at risk?

Simple: (2, Insightful)

KalvinB (205500) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436664)

Joe Script Kiddie can't write code for an X-Box. Yet.

There's also not much to gain since Joe Home User won't be putting anything on the X-Box that JSK would want.

The virus would also have to wedge itself permanently into the system. Otherwise a simple press of the reset button and *poof* cured.

What do you do when your gaming system acts up?

Reset. Console don't get viruses because it's (virtually) impossible by design to make any permanent effects. All Nintendo systems are immune because the system doesn't depend on writable media. Worst that could happen is that your memory card gets fried. But that doesn't affect any of your games or the system itself.

Ben

Journalists (5, Insightful)

Doomrat (615771) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436497)

"there are almost 60,000 viruses in existence"

Why do journalists insist on sticking poorly researched figures in a writeup? Do they think that this somehow makes it all seem more credible? This number is clearly just a count from a virus checker's definition file summary. I bet they failed to include or even comprehend the fact that viruses are not a Windows only thing - heck, game instructions for the Amiga would insist that you hard booted your machine to get rid of potentially evil RAM content type stuff.

viruses (-1, Flamebait)

GoatPigSheep (525460) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436508)

Viruses aren't a problem anymore for any intelligent computer user, just run a mac with OS X and viruses and worms become ancient legends you can tell your children about...

Re:viruses (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7436694)

"just run a mac with OS X and viruses and worms become ancient legends you can tell your children about..."

if you're running a mac, chances are you like the same sex as yourself. so no children will be had.

Re:viruses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7436696)

Yea, or even better yet -- switch to a one button mouse!

Celebrate!? (1)

GOPWillC (720979) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436509)

I really don't see how you celebrate the creation of the first virus. It's like saying "Woo hoo, my PC has been fried, and I lost my long-worked on school report." It should be remembered, not celebrated, I guess their are some sado-masochistic PC owners who enjoy their PC getting damaged, and their work lost.

What virus menace? (1)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436513)

The last time a virus inconvenienced me was back when I brought an ex-display A5000 with a collection of 200 viruses on it (according to the virus checker - never did get them all I think).

However, I get haraased by viruses on a daily basis... as part of my free geek tech support that people assume I run. In my opinion I wish viruses would totally trash hard disks as then I could just tell people to buy a Mac or install Linux for them instead rather than being forced to clean up - a long and painful process on Windows.

I don't suffer from a virus menace, I suffer from a stupid user menace, made worse by the fact that they don't knoe enough not to choose a crippled operating system.

Once and for all (3, Interesting)

bigjnsa500 (575392) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436518)

Once and for all I'd like to see a breakdown of what systems these virus' go after. I wanna know how many AIX, how many Windows, SCO, DOS, OS 8-10, etc.. these things are meant for, you know, the whole schabang.

Londo and the Computer Demons (2, Interesting)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436537)

I am reminded of the Babylon 5 Episode where the Centauri Ambassador Londo Mollarri has offended someone he should not, resulting in his room and accounts being molested by some sort of Computer Demon, which proceeds to place all the music he hates, messing with the enviromental controls (including odors) and even messing with all of his communications and financial accounts. (episode synopsis here [midwinter.com])

This equates to artificially intelligent versions of viruses, complete with very sophisticated capabilities. A script kiddies delight. Of course, properly written, it could be dangerous to play with, taking out a few script kiddy systems in the process.

(imagine demonic voices coming out of a system - "Who dares summon me?")

Re:Londo and the Computer Demons (1)

hesiod (111176) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436685)

> imagine demonic voices coming out of a system - "Who dares summon me?"

Imagine? Hell, my PCs have already been possessed three times. It asks where I want to go today, which freaks me out -- Why does my computer want to know where I'm going!?!?!? Luckily, I know just what to do.
I splash Holy Water all over it. I know it works because the demon emits smoke, fire, and sparks in his death throes. Unfortunately, the PCs never work after exorcism, but I don't care, as long as that demon is dead/banished to hell and can't frighten anyone else or invade their computer.

Viruses and OS X (4, Interesting)

Pyro226 (715818) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436549)

Because of the regular virus infections that take down half of the network at my Highschool (half of the computers are Macs, the rest are windows), all students that want to bring in laptops have to go the the computer lab and get a copy of Norton Antivirus installed. This rule applies to both Mac and Windows computers, despite the fact that we haven't gotten any Mac viruses. Because of this my friend got a copy of Norton on his nice new Powerbook.

Now the point of my story - My friend looked into exactly what Norton was checking for, and it turns out that almost half of the viruses it was checking for were actually Microsoft Word macros. Now, I don't know that much about Word macros, but I'm assuming that most of the ones that would mess up a Windows box are different from those that would mess up an OS X box. So before anyone says that virus only show up for windows because it is the most popular, also realize that Micro$oft can't even write a secure word processor.

Re:Viruses and OS X (1)

H8X55 (650339) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436631)

antivirus checklist

1. un-install ms word - you've just reduced your chances of being infected by foughly 50%
2. add favorite antivirus software of your choice add another 30-35% of protection.
.........

Re:Viruses and OS X (1)

Pyro226 (715818) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436678)

1. un-install ms word - you've just reduced your chances of being infected by foughly 50%

My friend doesn't have MS-Word, Norton was just being thorough. In a sort of ironic twist however, he uses the laptop to do Bioinformatics work with viruses; like comparing SARS with other viruses to try to figure out how it works.

Yes, we're in highschool. But we go to a vocational school, and we're both enrolled in Biotech.

Re:Viruses and OS X (1)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436708)

Actually, there are no (that I know of) Mac-specific MS Word macro viruses. However, they are still worth checking for on the Mac, for two reasons. First, although the macro virus probably won't work completely as it should on the Mac, often it can work well enough to at least self-replicate. Second, even if it can't, scanning for them still prevents an unsuspecting Mac user from passing on the virus to a Windows-using friend.

Yeah, old stories (fuzzy feelings) (3, Funny)

danigiri (310827) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436554)

A little tear streaked down on my cheek! O' the good ole' days!!!

Nowadays, with the advent of MacOSX (chugging along, thanks) and Linux, these little critters are a thing of the past....

Oh! You mean that they aren't exctinct like the ill-fated dinosaucers!?!? Geez! You mean they only run on MS Windows! You kidding? And to help them procreate and run rampant like in the ancient days, uncle Bill leaves the ports open??? Good 'ncle Bill!

PS: before the hordes of trolls and uninformed bots advocating the alleged security-via-obscurity of MacOSX come in by the legion, please do a google and a slashdot search (yes it even was published here) on PowerPC shell-codes, thank you. After having read and thouroughly understood the ample PDF's, come back and dare to post.
SPOILER: the CS library next to you surely has a publicily available wrinkled PowerPC assembly and arch book for you, go read them.

Wait for it.. (1)

NegativeK (547688) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436564)

Wait for it..

Viri! Virii! Viruses! Viren! Viris, viriis, virexies, virusenixien!

Okay, now there's no need for anymore of that.

The first virus? (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436565)

I would have sworn i read that the first "virus" was a gentleman that set his computer to keep re-submitting a print/andor/processing job- and over the weekend it had replicated his request 20k times... bogging down the entire mini system...

60k? (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436571)

I thought there were more....including failed ones and the "text-based" ones where ppl are the replication mechanism....oh, the ol' "GOOD TIMES".

Virus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7436579)

That's funny, the vacuum tubes in our SGI and Sun systems here keep blowing out, I'm getting to think it's a virus at work. I'm sure our IT staff hopes it doesn't keep up for another 20 years.

I for one... (0)

doublebackslash (702979) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436598)

Welcome our new virus overlords!

nmap -sT -v -v -I -O 24.247.212.249

Starting nmap 3.48 ( http://www.insecure.org/nmap/ ) at 2003-11-10 15:17 EST
Host 24.247.212.249.bay.mi.chartermi.net (24.247.212.249) appears to be up ... good.
Initiating Connect() Scan against 24.247.212.249.bay.mi.chartermi.net (24.247.212.249) at 15:17
Adding open port 5000/tcp (owner: [LL]36851)
Adding open port 1025/tcp
The Connect() Scan took 14 seconds to scan 1657 ports.
For OSScan assuming that port 1025 is open and port 1 is closed and neither are
firewalled
Interesting ports on 24.247.212.249.bay.mi.chartermi.net (24.247.212.249):
(The 1638 ports scanned but not shown below are in state: closed)
PORT STATE SERVICE OWNER
21/tcp filtered ftp
25/tcp filtered smtp
80/tcp filtered http
110/tcp filtered pop-3
119/tcp filtered nntp
135/tcp filtered msrpc
136/tcp filtered profile
137/tcp filtered netbios-ns
138/tcp filtered netbios-dgm
139/tcp filtered netbios-ssn
445/tcp filtered microsoft-ds
593/tcp filtered http-rpc-epmap
1025/tcp open NFS-or-IIS
1080/tcp filtered socks
1434/tcp filtered ms-sql-m
5000/tcp open UPnP [LL]36851
6667/tcp filtered irc
12345/tcp filtered NetBus
12346/tcp filtered NetBus
Device type: general purpose
Running: Microsoft Windows 95/98/ME|NT/2K/XP
OS details: Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me), Windows 2000 Professional or Advanced Server, or Windows XP
OS Fingerprint:
TSeq(Class=RI%gcd=1%SI=1D2C%IPID=I%T S=0)
T1(Resp=Y%DF=Y%W=FAF0%ACK=S++%Flags=AS%Ops=M NWNNT)
T2(Resp=Y%DF=N%W=0%ACK=S%Flags=AR%Ops=)
T3(Resp =Y%DF=Y%W=FAF0%ACK=S++%Flags=AS%Ops=MNWNNT)
T4(Resp=Y%DF=N%W=0%ACK=O%Flags=R%Ops=)
T5(Resp= Y%DF=N%W=0%ACK=S++%Flags=AR%Ops=)
T6(Resp=Y%DF=N% W=0%ACK=O%Flags=R%Ops=)
T7(Resp=Y%DF=N%W=0%ACK=S+ +%Flags=AR%Ops=)
PU(Resp=Y%DF=N%TOS=0%IPLEN=38%RI PTL=148%RID=E%RIPC K=F%UCK=F%ULEN=134%DAT=E)

TCP Sequence Prediction: Class=random positive increments
Difficulty=7468 (Worthy challenge)
TCP ISN Seq. Numbers: A30AF98A A30C5B20 A30DB6FF A30F4B7B A310E563 A3123C5D
IPID Sequence Generation: Incremental

Nmap run completed -- 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 16.341 seconds

First infected program called 'VD' (2, Funny)

koa (95614) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436601)

Does this strike anyone else how ironic that the first program to be infected with a virus was called 'VD' ?

I thought this was the first virus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7436617)

http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/09/09/163125 0&mode=thread&tid=126&tid=128

Re:I thought this was the first virus (1)

gooru (592512) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436641)

That's a bug not a virus. A bug is something that's wrong with a program. A virus is code that copies and spreads and is usually malevolent in nature, whereas bugs are usually accidental.

Only counting distinct instances? (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436622)

They must be only counting distinct instances, because I am certain there are more than 60,000 total viruses (including variations). Doesn't mcAfee's (sp?) virus protector claim to protect against something like 300,000 different viruses?
Are they not counting trojans, worms, and the other ancillary definitions of malicious programs?

Viruses (2, Interesting)

TrippTDF (513419) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436625)

I work in a design office where most people use Mac OS 10.2. I swear to God, now matter how many times I show people virus stats, or point them to articles about Macs and viruses, the SECOND there is something wonky going on, they call scream that they have a virus.

Downloading virus definitions? (2, Interesting)

Strange Ranger (454494) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436628)

> there are almost 60,000 viruses in existence

So at this rate, how long until the virus definition files for your AV software are so big and so frequent that you need broadband just to stay updated enough to maintain a reasonable level of protection?
How long until it takes gigs of storage space to store them all?

Wonder if Symantec, McAfee, etc., will offer a remote storage service in the future? Does everybody really need to store the same list of virus definitions on C: ?

Are virus definitions the future of AV or will heuristics and other "AI" get good enough in the foreseeable future that the one-off approach of definitions will become obsolete?

Re:Downloading virus definitions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7436660)

McAfee has been trying for years to get everyone to move over to their McAfee Clinic service which stores the virus info on their servers.

Their current downloadable definitions are about 3mb

Creative or Positive Uses? (1)

rueger (210566) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436650)

Now that we have established that a sufficiently clever virus can spread rapidly enough to beat the Symantecs of the world, we should be worrying about what this technology can be used for.

Think about some of the things that hard core political organizations could do to their opponents? Think about corporate whistlebowers who could make sure that their secrets hit hundreds of thousands of computer screens in hours or days. Think about someone who sends something as virulent as last month's "Microsoft Support" virus, but with a nasty payload that wipes the user's hard drive.

Or perhaps, think about using viruses as a tool to rapidly spread secret or patent protected information for widespread use without royalties.

All in all, I think that at twenty years we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg. One of these days someone with imagination is going to do something large, fast spreading, and so far unimagined.

Inspired fond memories (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7436663)

Brought me back to the commemoration on the 200th Anniversary of Naval-Induced venereal disease.

I think Walker got there first. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7436684)

In many ways John Walker's "Animal" program [fourmilab.ch] probably qualifies as the first virus, and it dates back to the mid seventies.

Subtle jibes and jabs (2, Interesting)

Target Practice (79470) | more than 10 years ago | (#7436688)

I think the whole thing was a sideways jab at hackers:

While virus writers are usually socially adept, many hackers are not.

That's the only line that really stuck out to me in this story... If you read on, however, it looks like they're talking about crackers of sorts. Any idea on who they're trying to insult here?

Really? Only 20 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7436699)

The first attacks I recall long predated Microsoft. They were ordinary, text e-mails on UNIX systems containing ASCII escape sequences that programmed "dumb" terminals in order to set their so-called "reply" buffers (which many of the more advanced ones had), and then to request the reply. The stored reply buffer then contained commands that were executed as if the victim typed them. They were called "letter bombs".
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