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Security Worms

When Viruses Infect Worms 96

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-malware-all-the-way-down dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Bitdefender reports that there exist viruses which, when they encounter other viruses, will merge and combine effects so that they create a new virus. 'A virus infects executable files; and a worm is an executable file. If the virus reaches a PC already compromised by a worm, the virus will infect the exe files on that PC — including the worm. When the worm spreads, it will carry the virus with it. Although this happens unintentionally, the combined features from both pieces of malware will inflict a lot more damage than the creators of either piece of malware intended. While most file infectors have inbuilt spreading mechanisms, just like Trojans and worms (spreading routines for RDP, USB, P2P, chat applications, or social networks), some cannot replicate or spread between computers. And it seems a great idea to “outsource” the transportation mechanism to a different piece of malware (i.e. by piggybacking a worm).'"
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When Viruses Infect Worms

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  • by TheSpoom (715771) <slashdot@@@uberm00...net> on Friday January 27, 2012 @05:35PM (#38845271) Homepage Journal

    Did anyone else get a mental image of a bacterium waving a cowboy hat riding a giant sandworm? ...clearly I need more coffee.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27, 2012 @05:40PM (#38845347)

    Only a million trillion times faster than it happens in the real world. I for one welcome our sentient viral overlords.

    • by PRMan (959735) on Friday January 27, 2012 @06:12PM (#38845657)
      Digital Intelligent Design at work you mean... These programs weren't created by /dev/null you know...
      • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex AT ... trograde DOT com> on Friday January 27, 2012 @09:04PM (#38847089)

        Digital Intelligent Design at work you mean... These programs weren't created by /dev/null you know...

        It's true that the programs were not read from /dev/null fully formed, however the evolutionary process wasn't directly designed by humans either -- It was a natural product of automated data replication systems existing. Much like the first self replicating chemical chain's existence spawned life. It's fun to point to our involvement in the program's initial creation, but that's just about like pointing to a star and calling it an "intelligent designer" because it forged the atoms.

        If you've never done so I suggest you do a little light AI programming. Feed Forward neural networks aren't hard to setup. When coupled with bitwise genetic programming that applies selection pressure and "breeds" new generations of N.Nets from the best "survivors" you can literally watch emergent behavior occur. This is how I taught a simple AI to move toward food sources and avoid dangers, and how I taught a bit more complex AI to recognize numbers and letters. The latter was only more complex in that it had more inputs and outputs, hidden layers, and thus a larger genome -- All used exactly the same AI architecture, the additional "complexity" was due to different initial construction parameters.

        Yank my fingernails out and beat me with a harmer, I still couldn't tell you exactly how their "programming" achieves their behaviors -- The AI neural networks initially had randomized states. I can tell you the overall process, but not the "design" of their synaptic pathways -- No one actually "programmed" my OCR's AI... It was evolved instead.

        If an intelligent designer, like myself, can impose artificial selection pressure to cause some degree of behavioral evolution among n.nets, or against mice to shrink their tails, then it's easy to understand that the designer need not exist: If only the dumb environment exerts selection pressures evolution will occur.

        Let me put it this way: The malware designers didn't intend for the virus to infect the worm -- They didn't intelligently design this behavior. If this proves beneficial to the duplication of their data against a natural selection pressure of their environment, like AV scanners or computer network configurations, then the new combined data set "organism" has been evolved, not designed.

        IMHO, the existence of initial conditions for (AI) life does not prove the existence of an intelligent designer as the initial conditions could exist naturally for such life: Eg malware running amok on the Internet vs carefully evolved n.nets in a lab... Even if you assert that either is indeed a product of Intelligent Design, then you must also agree they were not programmed by /dev/null nor merely by humans at /dev/console, rather the actual programming came from /dev/random. (Which is literally true in the case of my OCR's AI.)

      • Digital Intelligent Design at work you mean... These programs weren't created by /dev/null you know...

        But, how can we know that they were not created by /dev/random?

      • you mean /dev/random
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Windows is a petri dish.

    • Only a million trillion times faster than it happens in the real world. I for one welcome our sentient viral overlords.

      I sympathize with your enthusiasm, but evolution of computer viruses is actually a million trillion times slower than in real life, because the "environment" in which the "random genetic mutations" occur is the much smaller and slower-moving world of man-made software. In real life, you've got a lot more space, time, and degrees of freedom, and the motion of atoms in DNA molecules is much faster than the clock of any computer.

  • Bah... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Shoten (260439) on Friday January 27, 2012 @05:40PM (#38845351)

    I don't believe for a second that it's possible for a virus and a worm to combine to produce a more dange

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Remember back in the days when BackOrifice used to come with a CIH payload?

  • Shockwave Rider (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Gibgezr (2025238) on Friday January 27, 2012 @05:45PM (#38845417)

    Why does this bring back vague memories of that John Brunner classic, "The Shockwave Rider"? It's been about 30 years since I read it, so I can't recall if the protagonist wrote a "worm" that infected another worm, or just destroyed it/replaced it or something.

  • cool story, bro

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Context switching in biology allows viruses to infest genomes of many sizes.
    http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/GeneMachine/51835
    Mamaviruses have a Sputnik virus that reporgrams the Mamavirus which reporgrams an amoeba.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mamavirus
    CRISPR is how bacteria learn to modify their immune system to respond to viruses.
    CRISPR may be the first example of a memory system.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CRISPR
    This memory may have lead to a bio side effect called intelligence.
    Combined with quorum sens

  • by uigrad_2000 (398500) on Friday January 27, 2012 @05:58PM (#38845547) Homepage Journal

    Did anyone else start reading the summary assuming it was a story on biology? Here's how I first read it:

    "Bitdefender reports that there exist viruses which, when they encounter other viruses, will merge and combine effects so that they create a new virus. 'A virus infects executable flies;

    Instead of staring at the word "flies" which was actually "files", instead my eyes backed up and were focused on executable. What did it mean for a fly to be executable?

  • And that's how you get Windows Millennium Edition.
  • So nat'ralists observe, a flea
    Hath smaller fleas that on him prey,
    And these have smaller fleas that bite 'em,
    And so proceed ad infinitum.

    --Jonathan Swift.

  • What does it mean!?

  • is always creepy.

    Si, we have a software then can change other software to create a 3rd new working piece OS software.

    Sounds like life to me.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This has been a known reality for a very long time. I remember discussing this exact subject with colleagues over lunch easily over a dozen years ago.

    More interesting, perhaps, is that you can even get completely new viruses--which may or may not be viable--when one virus overwrites the loader and/or data of another. Things reminiscent of the "biology" of synthetic life simulators like the ALife.

    It's not just virus-to-worm combinations. I'm sure that even before my friend noted its possibility, that the

  • So this might actually produce emergent behavior? http://xkcd.com/350/ [xkcd.com]
  • And maybe one of them can help protect the 9 9s

    oh the strange and odd wanderings of a shockwave rider...
  • By our powers combined!

  • I guess it's theoretically possible, but in practice it's been a long time since I've seen a executable infecting virus. The last ones were macro viruses.

    My guess is that executable viruses aren't really found in the wild anymore.

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