When is a virus not a virus?
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Thread: When is a virus not a virus?

  1. #1
    Old Fart
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    When is a virus not a virus?

    Well, in my opinion never...a virus is a virus is a virus. However...

    The FriendGreetings electronic greeting card has all the hallmarks of a mass-mailing computer virus.

    The e-mail misleads a victim into downloading an application--ostensibly to view a Web card--then sends itself to every e-mail address in the victim's Outlook contacts file. At least a few systems administrators have complained in Usenet postings that the mass-mailing e-card was to blame for swamping their network.

    Yet the creators--Permissioned Media, a company apparently based in Panama--will be hard to prosecute: The viral card is protected by a license agreement that tricks unsuspecting users into clicking "Yes" and consenting to have the program send itself to all their e-mail contacts.
    You can read the entire article here.

    As far as I'm concerned, the fact that it uses what I already consider to be a nefarious device, the "EULA", to make its payload "legal" just makes it that much more despicable. Just another example of why you *HAVE* to read the fine print on everything these days. Be careful when you click!!!
    Al
    It isn't paranoia when you KNOW they're out to get you...

  2. #2
    Senior Member tampabay420's Avatar
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    a virus is any program with unwanted affects...

    ? am i wrong ?
    yeah, I\'m gonna need that by friday...

  3. #3
    AO BOFH: Luser Abuser BModeratorFH gore's Avatar
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    yes you are tampa, a Virus is any computer program that can replicate itself and can: cause damage, delete things, or display political messages, etc etc, (sorry for the short post, and yea i know theres a lil more to it but im just waking up).
    Kill the lights, let the candles burn behind the pumpkins’ mischievous grins, and let the skeletons dance. For one thing is certain, The Misfits have returned and once again everyday is Halloween.The Misfits FreeBSD
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  4. #4
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    Definition of virus

    I don't think replication is necessary to define a virus, but I could be wrong (wouldn't be the first time!). Wouldn't the replication imply that it is actually a worm, and not just a virus?
    Mike Reilly
    bluebeard96@yahoo.com

  5. #5
    AO BOFH: Luser Abuser BModeratorFH gore's Avatar
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    well you could be right though too
    from what iv read though they usually replicate themselves, i dont actually say its good to create them but then again the people that do keep anti virus people in business
    Kill the lights, let the candles burn behind the pumpkins’ mischievous grins, and let the skeletons dance. For one thing is certain, The Misfits have returned and once again everyday is Halloween.The Misfits FreeBSD
    Cannibal Holocaust
    SuSE Linux
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  6. #6
    Old Fart
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    Just me personally here...a virus is any piece of malicious code that uses subterfuge (posing as a .jpg, etc) to gain entry to a system, and/or create a security breach and/or use that system in order to propagate.
    Al
    It isn't paranoia when you KNOW they're out to get you...

  7. #7
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    LOL... job security at it's finest! Luckily (hopefully) the virus writers aren't employed by antivirus companies, otherwise it might be a little like all the fires we've had set this year by park rangers, CDF trainees, etc.

    I think that most viruses these days do replicate themselves, putting them in the worm class. Most people (ie the media) just lump everything together as "viruses" so they can have one "hot" word to use in newscasts.

    How a virus gets on the system can vary widely, thus it's hard to define. A virus can only act on a local machine (or network path, I guess, without propogation). The moment it propgates itself, however, I think it should be called a worm. Viruses and worms can both pose as something else, they can both cause damage and perform unwanted actions, but the distinguishing factor is the propogation.
    Mike Reilly
    bluebeard96@yahoo.com

  8. #8
    I'd rather be fishing DjM's Avatar
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    Found this definition on the web HERE


    From my research I've discovered that there isn't an agreed upon definition for a virus. Everyone seems to have his own definition for viruses, however, all definitions agree on one point which will be the basis for the following definition:

    A computer virus is a program that is self-replicating (copies itself).
    Many people believe that any program that does something malicious to a computing system is a virus. This isn't true unless that program can reproduce itself. Computer viruses can cause the loss or change of programs or data. Viruses can spread from one program to another and from system to system.

    When the code of a virus is executed, it spreads itself to other programs. A typical computer virus does two things. First, it copies itself into previously uninfected programs. Second, it executes other instructions that the virus creator has included in it. Some viruses don't have any harmful instructions at all. Instead, they cause damage by replicating and taking up disk space.
    As stated there, an agreed upon definition does not appear to exist and I am not sure it ever will.

    Cheers:
    DjM

  9. #9
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    hehe... I'll agree that we'll never all agree :-) Here the def from dictionary.com:

    virus

    n. [from the obvious analogy with biological viruses, via SF] A cracker program that searches out other programs and `infects' them by embedding a copy of itself in them, so that they become Trojan horses. When these programs are executed, the embedded virus is executed too, thus propagating the `infection'. This normally happens invisibly to the user. Unlike a worm, a virus cannot infect other computers without assistance. It is propagated by vectors such as humans trading programs with their friends (see SEX). The virus may do nothing but propagate itself and then allow the program to run normally. Usually, however, after propagating silently for a while, it starts doing things like writing cute messages on the terminal or playing strange tricks with the display (some viruses include nice display hacks). Many nasty viruses, written by particularly perversely minded crackers, do irreversible damage, like nuking all the user's files.
    Source: The Jargon File - http://www.jargon.org
    Mike Reilly
    bluebeard96@yahoo.com

  10. #10
    Deceased x acidreign x's Avatar
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    a virus is any program with unwanted affects...

    ? am i wrong ?
    Almost every program has unwanted affects, they are called bugs..

    Unless I am mistaken, virus programs were originally given that name because they emulate the behavior of viral microorganisms. They infect a living thing, change its DNA(programming?) and trick it into replicating itself. they spread to other cells and do the same, the immune system has to destroy the host cell to destroy the virus. this is why it makes you sick. So to me, virus programs would be programs that spread, replicate, alter programming, and destroy data... Many programs that have undesired effects have been labeled viruses (by those ignorant to their actual function) so, as you can imagine, the definition has broadened quite a bit. That greeting cards sound a bit more like a worm designed for DDoS, only the packets being sent are actual tangible data. That, and worms generally don't broadcast their presence to your dumb ass, and certainly don't bind you to a licensing agreement.
    :q :q! :wq :w :w! :wq! :quit :quit! :help help helpquit quit quithelp :quitplease :quitnow :leave :**** ^X^C ^C ^D ^Z ^Q QUITDAMMIT ^[:wq GCS,M);d@;p;c++;l++;u ++ ;e+ ;m++(---) ;s+/+ ;n- ;h* ;f+(--) ;!g ;w+(-) ;t- ;r+(-) ;y+(**)

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