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Worms Security

Inside the Mind of a Virus Writer 231

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the getting-to-know dept.
sebFlyte writes "news.com.com is running a very interesting interview with 'Benny' (AKA Marek Strihavka), a former member of the famed 29A russian virus-writing group, about what drove the group among other things. He's now one of several ex-virus writers working for security companies."
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Inside the Mind of a Virus Writer

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  • That stinks... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by slavemowgli (585321) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @01:13PM (#11373604) Homepage

    Who else (besides virus writers) should code antivirus programs? Who else has the experience and technical skills for fighting viruses?

    He's got a point there, but still, that stinks of "create a problem, then sell the solution".

    • Re:That stinks... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Fjandr (66656) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @01:17PM (#11373627) Homepage Journal
      On the one hand, yes, but without any evidence that he is involved in spreading viruses (something he strongly denies) it's more likely as he says: marketing theatre.

      It's like saying that banks shouldn't pay Frank Abignail millions of dollars to help them stop check fraud because he at one time stole millions of dollars the same way. When you get someone with that much inside perspective, the good they do can far outweigh their perceived shortcomings.
      • Re:That stinks... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by shatfield (199969) * on Saturday January 15, 2005 @01:29PM (#11373735)
        It's not like that at all.

        Frank Abignail did steal millions of dollars. He was a criminal. This kid didn't do anything of the sort -- he simply wrote programs that exposed insecurities in operating systems.

        Sometimes those programs are called Viruses, sometimes spyware, sometimes worms.. etc. When you put them all in a pot and boil them down to their bare essentials, they all smell the same way -- programs that exploit insecurities in operating systems.

        In the end, if he indeed did NOT spread the programs that he wrote, then they weren't viruses at all -- they were just programs that exposed the insecurities of operating systems.

        I am of the mind that we absolutely need people like Benny -- someone MUST check the locks to ensure that we are indeed safe. If no-one is checking the locks, then we're just fooling ourselves that what we hold near and dear is safe.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, 2005 @01:37PM (#11373776)
          "Frank Abignail did steal millions of dollars. He was a criminal. This kid didn't do anything of the sort -- he simply wrote programs that exposed insecurities in operating systems."

          And spam writers simply write spam that exposes weaknesses in baysian filters.

          "I am of the mind that we absolutely need people like Benny -- someone MUST check the locks to ensure that we are indeed safe. If no-one is checking the locks, then we're just fooling ourselves that what we hold near and dear is safe."

          I'll be over to check your locks. DON'T CALL THE POLICE!
          • > And spam writers simply write spam that exposes
            > weaknesses in baysian filters.

            No, the spam writers actually enter my property. That is like the people who spread vira, people who break into houses, or people who set off bombs. Or make unauthorized copies of dvd's.

            Those who write the code to defeat baysian filters are not spammers, but on the categogy with people who write vira or create universal keys, or write on the net how to create bombs from household chemicals. Or write decsc.

            The later
          • Chicken or egg? (Score:3, Insightful)

            by phorm (591458)
            You're a little off here. If not for SPAM, we wouldn't need antispam programs and bays-filters. The filter is a response to the annoyance of the spam. You might argue that the SPAM is due to the lacks in SMTP et al but in that case why make new SPAMs once it's pointed out

            The programs written by the kid, however, are targetted at vulnerabilities that already exist. Had he not written the code to expose the weakness, the weakness would still exist. Therefore he is responding to the weakness (and the weaknes
        • I wouldn't entirely agree with you. A self-replicating program is a virus/worm/whatever regradless of whether it is given the chance to actually self-replicate.

          As far as the analogy between Benny and Frank, I'll grant that it is pretty disparate, but it illustrates the logic between putting the fox in to guard the henhouse. As long as you have some reasonable sort of oversight, you have a fox telling you how other foxes will attempt to steal the hens. Your particular fox can only abuse his position for so
        • Sometimes those programs are called Viruses, sometimes spyware, sometimes worms.. etc. When you put them all in a pot and boil them down to their bare essentials, they all smell the same way -- programs that exploit insecurities in operating systems.

          Except most of them don't, they just exploit the ignorance of end users.

        • Frank Abignail did steal millions of dollars. He was a criminal. This kid didn't do anything of the sort -- he simply wrote programs that exposed insecurities in operating systems.

          That's true - up until the point he distributed the virus, and caused (probably) millions of dollars of real damage.

          That's a crime.

      • Well in the case of Frank Abignail, why the hell would you put a bank robber in a bank vault?
      • "involved in spreading viruses (something he strongly denies)"

        Well, he denies that he has spread viruses himself, but as he says "29A just wants to share ideas with others, and source code is a way of expression", he cannot possibly guarantee that none of his viruses have made it into the wild.

        Viruses and how they work is of course a fascinating subject, but having a group of people dedicating to exploring how to create new ones is very questionable. When I was younger I did the superficial test of mak

    • Stupid title (Score:3, Informative)

      by JPriest (547211)
      The guy never distributed the viruses, he never even wrote code designed to self-replicate. He is just some guy with an interest in computer security and finding exploits and you are calling him "the virus writer". The man is not a criminal.
      • I wasn't calling him anything at all, myself - the "virus writer" part was just a quote (which I had hoped would be clear from the indenting and italicising), and, for that matter, a quote from that very guy himself. Maybe he is no virus writer if you really look at the facts (although I doubt it), but he's calling himself one, so don't beat *me* up over it. :)
    • by Morosoph (693565) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @01:42PM (#11373801) Homepage Journal
      Of course, you could write an operating system, and then sell security for it [slashdot.org].
    • How about he work on solutions from a cell and get paid $0.50/hr instead of rewarded?
    • ...that stinks of "create a problem, then sell the solution"
      So what? Isn'it just the new MS business plan?
    • That's consulting (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sjbe (173966)
      ...that stinks of "create a problem, then sell the solution".

      Sounds like every consulting gig I've been involved with. Convince them they have a problem and that you, and only you, know how to fix it. Oh, and ummm, profit!
    • He's got a point there, but still, that stinks of "create a problem, then sell the solution".

      But this is the American way...

      Microsoft with security, SMS, updates etc. They even want to do it with spam, and most spam comes from Windows PCs.

      Trend, McAfee, Norton and others, no expanation needed

      ISPs let infected PCs stay on the net, yet want to sell the customers some AV product or "extra" bandwidth

      Telcos, sell calling line ID, then sell blocks for it. Some even sell no-calls from blocked.

      Credit ca

  • by errxn (108621) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @01:13PM (#11373606) Homepage Journal
    1. Write viruses
    2. Work for antivirus company selling solutions to the viruses that you write
    3. Profit!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, 2005 @01:14PM (#11373608)
    "Inside the Mind of a Virus Writer"

    Will I get infected reading the article?
  • by jmcmunn (307798) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @01:15PM (#11373615)

    Q: How many viruses have you written?
    A: A lot

    Q: Why did you write them?
    A: To learn and innovate, not to harm.

    Q: Should virus writers like you work for AV companies?
    A: Yes, of course. We know security the best.

    Why is this an "interesting interview"? There is little to no content here. It's the same crap we've heard every virus writer say to every person who interviews them. While I agree that the best security people are probably the ones who used to break the system (aka virus writers and crackers) why does this need to be considered interesting news? I was more interested in the (FALSE) story about the fish from the tsunami.
    • It's not interesting, in fact, slashdot has been one big turd of a read over the last few weeks.

      Who can suggest something better? I'm looking for more sci/tech, less tripe.
      • Technocrat [technocrat.net] is quite good.
      • I'm afraid to post a link here lest the /. trolls find it and ruin it, but kuro5hin is a great tech site. As far as I've been able to tell, it's essentially the same format as slashdot, except they apply the same comment moderation system to the story que as well, so only the good stuff makes it to the front page. Lots of long articles with tons of original content. Not like /. where they plagiarize story summaries and then link to an article somewhere else.
    • While I agree that the best security people are probably the ones who used to break the system (aka virus writers and crackers) why does this need to be considered interesting news?

      Why? It takes different kind of skills to keep a system up and running nice and secure that to crack it. As an anology : Someone very good at blowing up buildings is probably not that good at actually build one. Sure, a good demolisher need good knowledge about construction, but it's not the same. Really.

      • Mod parent up! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Saturday January 15, 2005 @03:37PM (#11374619)
        Why? It takes different kind of skills to keep a system up and running nice and secure that to crack it.
        Bingo! I can pick locks, but that doesn't mean I'm any good at designing better locks. From the article:
        But I always tried to come up with something new, never seen before. I coded viruses for platforms that were considered infect-resistant. I found some satisfaction in programming, just because I like logical and abstract thinking. This is not about any sort of "cyberterrorism."
        Yet I don't recall any submissions he's made to Open Source software on fixing exploitable holes.

        THAT would tell you whether he was as good as he claimed.
        As an anology : Someone very good at blowing up buildings is probably not that good at actually build one. Sure, a good demolisher need good knowledge about construction, but it's not the same. Really.
        Yep. And until I see him releasing code to fix exploitable holes in Open Source, he's still just another kiddie. Again, from the article:
        I take care of ZAV (Zoner Antivirus) core--this means all those low-level functions for scanning, unpacking, emulation, heuristics, ZAV database maintenance and new detection patterns.
        Pattern matching is nothing. And that's all that anti-virus software is.

        Rather than spending his massive talent on pattern matching viruses, why hasn't he come out with something to prevent viruses in the first place?

        Anti-virus systems are all re-active, not pro-active.

        Re-active is easy.
        Pro-active is hard.

        This story is junk. Some "journalist" saw that a "criminal" had been hired by a "security" company and decided that it would be a good story.
      • But someone good at making bombs might also be good at disableing them.
    • Why is this an "interesting interview"? There is little to no content here.

      I think it's the /. equivalent of a Rolling Stone "Top 50 Albums of All Time" list. They put the Beach Boys ahead of Jimi Hendrix so people will buy the issue just to show people how stupid the editors at Rolling Stone are.

      Stupid all the way to the bank. Ick.
  • Truth? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PhreakinPenguin (454482) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @01:16PM (#11373625) Homepage Journal
    It amazed me the way some people think. It sounds to me like he thinks he should be free to write virii because it's expression and protected under the first amendment? So by that analogy, someone who burns down a building shouoldn't be prosecuted because they are just expresssing themselves. Come on, him saying that he didn't distribute his "code" is complete crap. He wrote it and it got distributed. Anyone who thinks differently can buy some swampland from me at a steep price.
    • It amazed me the way some people think. It sounds to me like he thinks he should be free to write virii because it's expression and protected under the first amendment? So by that analogy, someone who burns down a building shouoldn't be prosecuted because they are just expresssing themselves. Come on, him saying that he didn't distribute his "code" is complete crap. He wrote it and it got distributed. Anyone who thinks differently can buy some swampland from me at a steep price.

      What I find interesting is
      • What I find interesting is that the entire time I was reading the interview, it reminded me of the 'its legitimate to steal software/music' zealots who think any action they take with a computer can be justified as a $DIETY given right.

        Nonono. Don't confuse the pirates with the people who actually care about freedom. Yes, stealing software/music/movies is illegal. That is a fact. Go look it up. (I won't go into the debate of "just because it's illegal doesn't make it unethical"). The fact that there is
    • The difference would obviously be what you do with the virus. Keep it on your own systems and play with it? That is absolutely acceptable. Release it to the general public *in source form* also should be acceptable. It's sharing of source code. Nothing wrong with that. If you disallow writing a program that could do something damaging or illegal, then we'd better lock up p2p programs as well (not like they aren't trying). I'm not advocating releasing the binary form in the wild. That is where the problems s
    • > it's expression and protected under the first amendment?

      Given that he lives in Brno, I really doubt that he has even once considered his first amendment rights. Perhaps you meant to say "protected under Article 17 of Division Two of the second chapter of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms?"

      Naah... too wordy. "First Amendment" it is!

    • Re:Truth? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Morganth (137341) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @02:06PM (#11374007) Journal
      "So by that analogy, someone who burns down a building shouoldn't be prosecuted because they are just expresssing themselves. Come on, him saying that he didn't distribute his "code" is complete crap. He wrote it and it got distributed."

      Nice try, but that doesn't follow. The virus writer isn't like the guy who burns down the building; he's more like the guy who came up with the formula for the molotoff cocktail your guy used to burn down the building. Coming up with the formula is a creative act, and one that is protected enough so that one has the right to actually publish the formula anywhere. One can (or at least, should) be able to publish the design for other molotoff cocktails, or bombs, or guns, or swords, or whatever harmful thing you want.

      However, the second someone takes that formula and puts together the ingredients (*ahem, compiles the source code*) and throws it at the building (*ahem, distributes the executable*), then we have our criminal.
      • Er.. came up with the recipe, then sent it to the arsonist along with "this is r341ly c00l , dud3. 7ry 17 0ut!!!!1! 17 |3urn5!!!!"
    • Re: First Amendment (Score:2, Informative)

      by gordonb (720772)

      Last time I checked, the First Amendment was in the US Constitution.

      Article 17 of the Czech Republic's Constitution ("Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms") states, in Section 4, "The freedom of expression and the right to seek and disseminate information may be limited by law in the case of measures essential in a democratic society for protecting the rights and freedoms of others, the security of the State, public security, public health, and morality." So here, limitations on these rights are mor

    • It sounds to me like he thinks he should be free to write virii because it's expression and protected under the first amendment?

      So please tell me when the first amendment became law in the Czech Republic. When will you people learn that your laws does not apply outside your borders? Besides that as far as I know there is no US law prohibiting writing computer viruses, or any law prohibiting sharing of source code for them. There are however laws that could get you if you release the virus on an unsuspect

  • While I can understand 'Benny's' intentions with regard to wanting to innovate, and to help to create a more secure PC, many other virus writers seem to just want to cause mayhem, or to get credit. Therefore, I think it makes a great deal of sense for AntiVirus firms to employ people who've had a great deal of experience with the issue, like Benny. Only by employing similar minded people, can we help to prevent new and devastating new virii from appearing.
    • Perhaps, but I think anti-virus software itself is mostly a band-aid for the real problem; weaknesses in the operating system.

      If people like Benny *really* want to be useful in helping prevent viruses - they need to become employed at corporations like Microsoft, on a team that works to improve the security of the OS itself.

      That said, I also find it rather interesting that with very FEW exceptions (like AVG AntiVirus), almost all antivirus makers insist on their customers paying a fairly substantial amoun
      • Perhaps, but I think anti-virus software itself is mostly a band-aid for the real problem; weaknesses in the operating system.

        But the vast bulk of viruses *don't* exploit any weaknesses in the OS. To the OS, most viruses are performing normal and expected tasks (opening and reading files, opening network connections, etc). It's only the context *to the end user* in which they are doing them that makes them "bad".

  • by frdmfghtr (603968) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @01:20PM (#11373657)
    I foud this tidbit a bit interesting...

    Some antivirus firms say that I have no moral right to do it, but...almost all ex-members and current members of 29A are employed in the antivirus and information technology security industry.

    Does this strike anybody else as a "wolf guarding the henhouse" scenario?
  • There are very vew (good!) books about writing viruses. One of them is "The Shellcoder Handbook" by Koziol et. al.

    Any other suggestions?

  • It depends (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Matt2k (688738) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @01:25PM (#11373696)
    There is something to be said for learning techniques for mitigation through hands-on practice. For example, I routinely attempt to crack my own web servers in an attempt to discover potential weaknesses. You can read white papers on XSS and privledge escalation and proper filesystem permissions all day, but you don't really ever learn the application until you try it for yourself.

    If I were to hire another administrator to be in charge for securing my systems, I would want them to have that same internal drive and desire to explore the system, rather than having a checklist-mentality. Go down the list and assume the server is secure.

    That said, I would _not_ hire someone who was actively involved in breaking into other people's systems. It's the mindset. They did it once, they can't do it appreciably any better than if they had probed their own systems, and they're likely to do it again. Part of being a professional means a mature respect for other people's beings.

    So if this guy actually wrote viruses that were released, I would consider him probably a bad canidate. Otherwise, yeah, go for it. Good choice.
  • I can understand the problem with virus writers that spread their creations, but this guys wasn't part of a group that did?
    Or am I missing something here...

    However, from the Cnet guy's questions, it certainly seemed like he had written his questions in advance while thinking he was a dirty hacker trying supporting "cyberterrorism".
    • He states that he publised his viruses. This is just as bad as actively releasing the thing.

      Or maybe they're all just too stupid to think that some script kiddie will come along, compile and release the thing. Writing malicious code to see if something works is one thing, writing it and releasing/publishing it is another. One can help you understand the workings of another piece of software, the other makes a big mess of the internet and there's no excuse for it.
      • So what do you think about the sequencing of the Smallpox virus? But this is what academic researchers do: write and publish. No, I'm not calling these so-called theoretical virus programmers equivalent to researchers, but the mechanism is the same. Are researchers responsible for what someone else does with the things they've unlocked? Is A. Einstein morally responsible for the development of atomic bomb?
  • by tenzig_112 (213387) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @01:35PM (#11373760) Homepage
    An excerpt from
    somesuch thing [ridiculopathy.com] about a passionate young code mangler:


    Earnest in his desire to create a believable, honest, and confident email worm, Vallor spent the better part of a year researching the lives of Spanish explorers, history of potted meat, and geography of coastal Maine. After thoroughly outlining the project and writing a few initial lines, he suddenly lost his muse and shelved the project until his nerve returned. He then sequestered himself in his tiny apartment for more than a month, writing draft after draft until his viral manuscript was ready for compilation and distribution.


    Like all good, passionate writing, Gokar is largely autobiographical. Vallor used various characters, the registry key for instance, from his real life:


    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurre ntVersionRun] "Karen" = "karen.exe"

  • Circular Logic (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rie Beam (632299) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @01:38PM (#11373781) Journal
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the whole idea that a virus writer assists in securing computers just a bunch of crap? I mean, please, let's drop the facade for a minute, and think this through:

    01: A virus writer releases a virus or worm,
    02: A virus writer gets accused of damaging millions of computers
    03: A virus writer says he did it to bring attention to X bug that could be potentially used to write a virus or worm for
    04: GOTO 01

    I realize that some companies are stubborn and have persued legal action against people who publish bugs in software, so a virus or worm can sometimes be the only effective way to bring public attention to a problem. However, this usually is in turned converted to bad press for the writer, and just backfires. The way I see it, this is a better argument than others for switching to OSS - no morbid fear that publishing a bug will result in a lawsuit (no matter how unfound half the time), and thus any virus/worm exploits on an open platform can be considered generally malicious, and the writer persued fully.
    • Well, a convicted check fraudster (Frank Abagnale http://abagnale.com/ [abagnale.com] (is responsible for designing and getting implemented most of the anti-fraud devices used on checks today... Hint: use a gel pen for filling out checks, because the ink can't be "lifted".
  • Create a virus

    Then sell the cure

    Wasn't that a movie? :-D

    That's one heck of an unethical business plan. That violates so many ethics principles it's amazing.
  • Turning point (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Gary Destruction (683101) * on Saturday January 15, 2005 @01:45PM (#11373825) Journal
    The article doesn't mention what the turning point in his life was. I think that would fill in a big gap.
  • by anticypher (48312) <anticypher@NoSPam.gmail.com> on Saturday January 15, 2005 @01:49PM (#11373856) Homepage
    I just RTFA, and there wasn't one mention of bone saws, power drills, or plastic explosives. How else would one get into the mind of a virus writer?

    The only acceptable process for getting into the mind of a virus writer should be both irreversable and serve as a warning to others.

    the AC
  • Personal choice (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kipsaysso (828105)
    When you get down to it, who you employ is up to you. If you think that your customers would be best served by a former virus writer, then do it. If you think they are too dangerous then don't. It comes down to your economic choice.
  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @02:03PM (#11373979) Homepage
    I've always suspected close ties between the virus industry and the multibillion dollar anti-virus industry. Now we know they're real.

    Most viruses are designed to be friendly to the anti-virus industry.

    • They rarely do anything really destructive. "Propagate for 15 days, then erase hard drive" viruses are very rare.
    • They seldom do something that an anti-virus program can't undo. Think about that for a moment. Most viruses are uninstallable without having to reload applications or the operating system. That can't be entirely by accident.
    • They almost never attack the users data in subtle ways. We don't seem to see viruses that, say, make small changes to numbers in spreadsheets.
    • They don't even remove anti-virus programs much, which would seem to be an obvious feature.

    There's always been an implicit synergy between the virus and anti-virus companies. They need each other. But now we know there's more than that.

    • I don't think that's intentionally "frendly to the anti-virus industry".

      The challenge of virus/worm writing is having the thing spread, of manipulating systems and hiding.

      The reason there is rarely a destructive payload is because there is absolutely no challenge in a destructive payload... any moron can write destructive code.

      Contrary to what the movies, and thanks to them, the media like to make people think, the primary goal of most virus writers isn't to wreak havok on a global scale, it's simply to
    • Most viruses are designed to be friendly to the anti-virus industry. They rarely do anything really destructive
      That's reading way too much into it, you could similarly say that people who do graffiti are in with the paint companies because they are not throwning paint on windsheilds of cars changing lanes on the freeway.
    • They almost never attack the users data in subtle ways. We don't seem to see viruses that, say, make small changes to numbers in spreadsheets.

      If they do this, it very well could just be an unintentional side effect. For example, the FORM virus would fuck up the contents of Word documents, because it would insert a chunk of its code into the memory space of the document, usually in the body text part of the doc. Most of the time, deleting the ascii-equivalent of the code was enough to fix the doc, but not
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 15, 2005 @02:04PM (#11373995)
    This article at InformIT.com [informit.com] is another interview with a 29A member (Ratter). Much of the same content and statements.
  • by hikerhat (678157) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @02:04PM (#11373996)
    Looks pretty darn empty in there.
  • The only part of me I want inside a virus author is my boot in his ass.

    While hiring these guys might help in the short term, long term it does nothing to discourage other authors. If they manage to avoid jail, they've got a big payday coming. To me, that's exactly the wrong message to send.

    If viruses, worms, spyware, and spam disappeared tomorrow, I would probably be unemployed. And you know what, I'd be okay with that, because it'd mean that my customers don't need me to fix the problems these guys ca
  • "who else" indeed. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bani (467531) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @02:09PM (#11374032)
    "Who else (besides virus writers) should code antivirus programs? Who else has the experience and technical skills for fighting viruses?"

    just because you can blow up a bridge doesn't mean you should be trusted to build one.

    it takes a completely different skillset to defend against viruses than it does to write them.

    doctors don't have to know how to create a disease in order to know how to cure it. i would trust a doctor to treat disease far more than a bioweapons engineer.

    just like i don't trust a burglar to guard a bank vault, i don't trust a virus writer to write antivirus software.
    • metaphor much? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Heisenbug (122836)
      Actually, I would trust a bioweapons engineer to create a drug designed to block biological weapons far more than I would trust a doctor. What, you were going to put a surgeon or a pediatrician in charge of that team? I would also expect a talented safecracker to know things about safes that the original designers don't know -- and as someone else pointed out, who better to blow up the bridge than a guy who builds bridges?

      A poorly thought out simile is like a fish riding a bicycle, for reasons you would do
      • Re:metaphor much? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by captwheeler (573886)
        I would trust a bioweapons engineer to create a drug designed to block biological weapons far more than I would trust a doctor.

        Are serious? It's common to think that being near a problem lends special insight, but lets be clear: Doctors spend years studying how to heal, a bioweapons engineer spends years studying how to kill. If the objective is to save the life, the doctor is the clear choice.

        who better to blow up the bridge than a guy who builds bridges?

        The person who spends years studying how to bl

        • I totally agree about the issues with hiring virus writers, although I can imagine coming down on either side in different cases. I'm just saying the grandparent's metaphors were all backwards, which I'll stick to in the case of doctors. Here's how it actually went, in real life:

          1) US bioweapons experts developed anthrax.
          2) unknown low-level bad guys released it.
          3) US bioweapons experts developed ways to deal with anthrax.
          4) doctors delivered the medicine

          Again, this is the actual, nonmetaphorical
        • The person who spends years studying how to blow up bridges would be a better choice.

          Maybe in a general sense, but talking to the structural engineer for a specific bridge would probably clue you in far more to how to bring a bridge down.

          But it's not too hard to do anyways. Each basic bridge design has points of failure. You break the bridge at or near those points with the appropriate explosive, or you break enough easy spots so that the weak points end up getting overloaded, and it will come down. The
    • "Who else (besides virus writers) should code antivirus programs? Who else has the experience and technical skills for fighting viruses?"

      just because you can blow up a bridge doesn't mean you should be trusted to build one.


      However, if you are a structural engineer, you might be interested in this guy's analysis of your bridge design to make it more robust...

      it takes a completely different skillset to defend against viruses than it does to write them.

      Yes, it does. But defense is almost always a step

  • Gosh - all the guy has to point to is the US's current Bioterrorism research. You know, the large amounts of money that are put into "developing" various strains of germ warfare to better "prepare us" in case "someone else" uses them against us??

  • by slashname3 (739398) on Saturday January 15, 2005 @02:33PM (#11374182)
    I was hoping they had a bunch of them with their skulls cracked open.....
  • It's the number of the geek...
  • by jnf (846084)
    So for several years I was an op on #virus the 'home base' of 29A and less popular/talented virus groups, i've never written a virus/worm myself, and because of that I was only mildly accepted however I did get an insite to them, and many of 'them' do it for the reasons Benny listed- and Benny is a perfect example of Proof of concept, he wrote the first xp virus, the first virus that would infect linux from windows if a computer dual booted/etc, while slashdot as a whole may have an unpopular opinion of the
  • Before VLAD magazine entered the virus scene it mainly consisted of traders and spreaders. People used to write viruses with the sole goal of spreading them on other people's machines. These were the bad guys. The traders were a special kind of user who wasn't afraid of viruses, enjoyed studying and collecting them and trading them with other users. When VLAD entered the scene we had a specific moto: write viruses, but do no harm. We never spread our creations. We wrote viruses that were deliberately

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