April 18, 2024

Dueling Viruses

There seems to be an active rivalry between the authors of competing computer viruses, with back-and-forth insults included in the textual comments within each virus, according to a Mike Musgrove story in today’s Washington Post.

Witty repartee it’s not: “Bagle – you are a looser!!!” But one does worry about what will come next, if the loosers decide to escalate from a war of words to an e-war. If that happens, the next step will be new virus versions that try to inoculate victims’ machines against rival viruses. And don’t expect the kind of clean, surgical inoculation you get from a good antivirus product, but a crude rewiring of the victims’ software configuration, causing all sorts of trouble.

In the worst (but unlikely) case, this could escalate into a full-on game of distributed core wars, with rampaging malware armies clashing in the computers of people foolish enough to click on the wrong attachments.

Let’s hope this doesn’t happen. And let’s all remember to update our antivirus software and be very suspicious of email attachments.


  1. Chris Tunnell says

    My thought process is the fixing virus would lay low like the DoS one, the only difference is one has a nicer payload.

  2. Cypherpunk says

    In a way, deadly viruses are better than quiescent ones. In nature, viruses which kill their hosts too quickly don’t thrive (which is why Ebola has never been as big a threat as the flu). Many viruses these days take over the machine and lie low, waiting to be activated later as part of a DDoS attack or spam exploder. Users won’t even be aware that they are infected. But if the viruses start rampaging through memory and disk, clumsily deleting crucial data, people will know that something’s wrong and fix it. This could actually be a positive development.

  3. Chris Tunnell says

    “‘loosers’? Tsk. I expect better from you.”

    If I were him, I would just say it was an artistic emphasis on the spelling habbits of virus writers, since it very well could be. Also, punctuation goes inside of the quotes according to American-style regardless of context.

    “Antivirus software? You mean Linux (or MacOSX)?”

    This is for those who do run Windows. The bigger issue here is that if the masses get infected with a viruses, then every IT person is effected and others are affected by, for example, slower site performance.

    On another note, these viruses aren’t the worst thing in the world. It would be great if they just had a pop-up saying, “You have a virus and these are anti-virus programs,” but even the crude removal method is better than “format c:”

  4. Anonymous says

    “loosers”? Tsk. I expect better from you.