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Virus Writers- Troublemakers or Something Far More Sinister?

The simple answer is both.  Virus writers take on many forms but when it boils down to it there are really three types of virus writers

– New computer programmers who are flexing their digital muscle.

– “Research” virus writers,  creating malware to test our systems

– Finally, and most dangerous of all, the professionals.  Writing malware at this level means it often goes undetected by anti-virus software.

Trojan viruses, for example, can be used to steal login details to web-based services that cost money.  These are often written by the first group of virus writers,  often students and young people who prefer not to pay for internet services.  This happened to AOL in 1987 when internet was more expensive to receive.  Since internet prices have fallen, so has the use of Trojan horse viruses.

From there on the world of virus writers gets far more complicated. From what I could tell,  a step up from petty internet theft is more hardcore cyber crime which involves many things such as sending out mass spam e-mails from thousands of anonymous sources.  Spam emails, as you all well know if you have ever read one are full of empty and impossible promises, usually costing a high price, or requiring your bank details.

Another type of cyber crime is that which I mentioned in my post on cyber warfare,  I have now learned that the technical name for it is “distributed network attacks” where sites are flooded with requests to the point where they are shut down and common users cannot access them.

Cyber criminals can use their talents to steal electronic currency, banking information, other confidential information. They can even use it to blackmail.

The methods are incredibly complicated and unfortunately I’m not a computer programmer and a lot of it goes over my head.

There is a fascinating website here which you should check out if your interested in all of this, which you should be,  it is after all, both fascinating and terrifying.

I am not a virus writer, and I have no desire to become one, but in those two words I think the motivation is summed up.  The world of virus writing is fascinating, and incredibly terrifying. People are naturally attracted to power, and I think that kind of talent is the modern equivalent of excellent sword skills.  It makes you threatening and admirable at the same time,  why wouldn’t you do it, if you could?

Food for thought indeed.  I look forward to your comments!


April 20, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments