Viruses and Hacking

by on May.10, 2004, under Rant

Ok I guess I should start by saying this is not a guide or tutorial, I will not be showing you how to write a virus or hack a bank, if I was a hacker I’d be busy hacking into a bank and making myself rich rather than writing this. Unfortuanly I seem to have been brough up to know the difference between right and wrong and wont be trying that anytime soon.
There is only one good thing about the spread of viruses and haccking and thats it keeps the computer security firms in business.

Are you sitting comfortably? ok then I’ll begin

Virus Writers
People that write viruses, now these could be intelligent competent programmers that are just experimenting or as seems to be the case have something against Micro$oft or they’re just plain evil! It really is a shame that most viruses out there are variants where the code has just been changed slightly. These programmers have some good skills they’re able to write a program thats able to multiply and spread and in most of the recent cases the virus comes in an email, they’re smart enough to trick you into running the virus. These people have skills that could be used legitimatly, if you can write a program that spreads on an internal network, then it could be used by network admins to update large networks. Being able to send emails from a program is also a useful skill(I’ve needed it). Theres also file parsing to harvest email address, again fileparsing is something that’s needed alot. But no these guys have to waste these skills causing disruption, thats just impolite!
But it doesn’t stop there, some of these competent programmers decided it’d be a good idea to write tools so that Joe Stupid Script Kiddie can make his own viruses, using whats proabably a drag and drop interface without any programming skills.

Very similar to virus writers these guys have skills that are wasted and abused. I’m going to use the name hacker rather broudly as there are many types.
Now I have nothing against someone sitting at their computer bouncing their conenction of various proxies and tring to break into their own network and machines or even searching for security holes, as long as the intention is to notify the people maintaining the systems of any holes so they can be filled. Also I have nothing against hacking a program to change its behavior or to crack copy protection for backup purposes, I think if you’ve bought something you shuold be able to make a copy incase the original gets damaged or lost. But Some people just go too far hacking a game to make it easier for yourself and then playing it against unhacked players isn’t really fair, will make the game boring and spoil the experience for others.

The Media
The way vulnerabilities, exploits and viruses are reported by the news is just rediculous. The day after an event it gets reported “Mass Virus Outbreak”, “Hacker gets into NASA”, these things make front page news. “Microsoft releases new patch” almost never gets reported unless your reading specialist papers. If people and I mean the general public not just IT managers(that sometimes dont have time to patch) are made aware of a vulnerability as soon as the patch is available, then maybe they might update their software and virus outbreaks wont be as bad.

This is all Micro$ofts fault, everyone should use Linux or a Mac
Erm I’m not sure about the statistics but as the majority of PC’s tend to be running some version of windows if a virus is written for windows its chances of spreading are pretty high. But you wouldnt get this problem with the other operating systems? If everyone used Mac’s then all the viruses would be written for them instead and we’d still have the same problems, and the same goes for linux or any other operating system.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not defending Microsoft, their developers did leave some pretty major holes in their code, but these are being fixed now so they say.

The Computer Security firms
The only people that benifit from viruses and hackers. These people make money by selling protection against digital threats. Makes you think maybe to keep themselves in business they release a virus so more people buy their software? But to be fair if it wasn’t for these guys how many computers would be infected with multiple viruses? pretty much evey computer, unless they’ve never been connected to the internet or used any kind of disk!

Second only to the virus writers themselves in guilt for spreading viruses. Most internet users aren’t educated in how to protect themselves from infection, and their PC’s aren’t sold configured to protect them. All computers (unless theyre provided for people that know what they’re doing) should be provided with all software patches and atleast antivirus software and the windows firewall configured. This should protect them from infection and everyone else from being attacked.

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