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Computer viruses turn 25; computer scientists expect many unhappy returns

post #1 of 33
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Some birthdays just aren't happy events. Science is noting the 25th birthday of the first documented instance of malware. The magazine uses the occasion as an opportunity to both track the evolution of the virus and its relatives (trojans, rootkits, etc.) and discuss why the problem is likely to still be plaguing us when the 50th anniversary rolls around.

Most of us were first exposed to the concept of malware with the arrival of the Morris Worm in 1988, which spread worldwide through the Internet, which existed primarily as an academic resource at the time. But the authors note that the Morris Worm was a relative latecomer. 1982 saw the first computer virus, Elk Cloner, the product of a Pittsburgh high school student that spread through Apple II systems via infected floppy disks...
http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post...ter-virus.html
|Jolly Roger|
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|Jolly Roger|
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post #2 of 33
Woo? Beer time? Or should we fear the release of an epidemic by some rogue programmer with a taste for stylish timing?
Lee XT
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Lee XT
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post #3 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Licht View Post
Or should we fear the release of an epidemic by some rogue programmer with a taste for stylish timing?
That. would be so amazing. I'd keep the virus on my computer simply for that reason.. Then again I never seem to get the cool viruses that everyone else gets.

Now that I think about it, I really never get viruses.
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post #4 of 33
It's all just stinkin Anti-Virus companies behind it! Think about it... there would be ZERO need for Anti-Virus if there weren't any virii to destroy.

I bet more than 75% comes from McAfee, Norton, etc.
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post #5 of 33
Duh.
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post #6 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by d3mig0d View Post
Now that I think about it, I really never get viruses.
i'm sure someone around here can help you out with that if you want. what's your IP?
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post #7 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBungle View Post
i'm sure someone around here can help you out with that if you want. what's your IP?
That would be fabulous. 127.0.0.1
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post #8 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by d3mig0d View Post
That. would be so amazing. I'd keep the virus on my computer simply for that reason.. Then again I never seem to get the cool viruses that everyone else gets.

Now that I think about it, I really never get viruses.


Quote:
Originally Posted by d3mig0d View Post
That would be fabulous. 127.0.0.1
post #9 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by d3mig0d View Post
That would be fabulous. 127.0.0.1
What the? I just sent some viruses to you and I infected myself.
I <3 480's
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I <3 480's
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post #10 of 33
Quote:
This year marks the 25th birthday of the very first computer virus, Elk Cloner.

It was created by a wayward 15-year-old called Richard Skrenta who had an annoying habit of hacking computer games so that they stopped working after a set time and displayed an "amusing" message.

Skrenta's friends had naturally grown tired of this nonsense and refused to accept any more disks from him. So he came up with a way to spread his code without them realising.

Elk Cloner spread not across a network but via floppy disks, on machines running the Apple II operating system. It didn't do any damage, simply displaying the following message after a while:

Elk Cloner: The program with a personality

It will get on all your disks
It will infiltrate your chips
Yes it's Cloner!

It will stick to you like glue
It will modify RAM too
Send in the Cloner!

In a perspective article in this week's Science, Richard Ford and Gene Spafford reflect on the way viruses, and malware in general, have evolved since. Things have certainly moved on - from countless network worms and email viruses aimed gaining notoriety, to more subtle programmes designed to turn your PC into a DDoS zombie or spambot for financial gain.

Ford and Spafford see no end in sight. As long as computers (and naïve computer users) exist, there will be programmes that run amok, they say. They also note that designing a programme to identify a computer virus with absolute certainty is equivalent to the famous "halting problem" in computer science. In other words, it can't be done.

Oxblood Ruffin - Here's what he had to say:

Throughout history we have seen many vulnerabilities. In the beginning lots of smoke and mayhem revolved around networking and protocol vulnerabilities. Then we took a step up. Platforms [Microsoft, Linux, Apple] were designed to operate a layer above the networks. And of course we've seen all kinds of problems with these.
The most common vulnerabilities were passed along by email. Then, as with all technical things, we started to run into more problems, via the web.

Now, it doesn't matter what kind of computer one uses to access the internet. We all end up on the web. Which means that the web is the platform, or, in other words, the problem. If the web is where most people go, then that's where hackers will try to find vulnerabilities... and they've already found plenty.

It kind of makes you long for the days when Elk Cloner was the worst we had to worry about.
man before i was even born geeze
http://www.newscientist.com/blog/tec...y-returns.html
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