November 11th, 2003, 11:49 AM
I remember reading somewhere that early viruses were designed to do maintenance across networks.
After doing a Google search i found this page
My question is have there been any viruses designed in recent years to do good? Or are they mostly malicious?
By definition, viruses do not have to do something bad. An early (and current) virus researcher, Fred Cohen, has argued that good computer viruses are a serious possibility.
November 11th, 2003, 11:57 AM
I think virii have such a terrible stigma over the past few years, that very few people that write virii nowadays have any good intentions. Although, correct me if I'm wrong you might consider that Symantec, McAfee, and all the other anti-virus software companies do a sort of "good-virii" in their anti-viral fixes.
Creating further mindless stupidity....through mindless automation.
November 11th, 2003, 12:00 PM
IIRC, there was one that came out of the Kazaa network (depending on which side of the fence you sit on that one). It was designed to target Kazaa users who downloaded "pr0n" I believe and was meant as a way to deal with Kazaa users by preventing them from actually sharing software. (I believe it was Benjamin but not sure).
I don't know if we'll ever truly see a "good virus" most because of ethical issues and privacy issues. Few people like legit software checking up on them without letting them know, let alone a virus. Which you'd have even less control over.
November 11th, 2003, 01:19 PM
The answer is "no"
Viruses infect, and as MsMittens rightly points out, you have no control. I think the confusion might be with the early development of remote management and central software distribution tools? There are similarities in behaviour, the main difference is the ability to specifically target.
I will admit that I did once steal some virus code and had it amended to do a software distribution for me...........It worked just fine, because a virus is just a proggie at the end of the day? I do not think I shall get sued for the plagiarism
Just a couple of thoughts
November 11th, 2003, 01:27 PM
I consider that Nachi was a virus with good intentions.
It was ment to go onto the PC of Users who were ignorant of software updates and update the same for them.
Unfortunately the wild version of nachi was not very well written and caused alot of undesired traffic.
I believe its author had good intentions though.
November 11th, 2003, 05:05 PM
I have to agree with Mark but like the old saying says, Don't do good things that look like bad things.
November 12th, 2003, 03:08 AM
i would like to add something to what mark said, i heard way---- back when that a virus writer made a virus that was really ****ed up windows and a(rival) virus writer wrote a virus that was suppose to uninstall the other one however it was very unstable so despite good intentions it caused bad things to happen
November 12th, 2003, 11:01 AM
In reply to double_negative's comment. I have certainly come across viruses that searched for other viruses and disabled them first. I believe that this was only to give them (the new virus) "a clear shot at the target"
I also seem to recall viruses being released as "cures" for other viruses (social engineering). Yes, they got rid of the virus, and went on to infect you themselves. A classic example of the "trojan horse"?
Mark has a good point with the Nachi virus, it probably was well intentioned. I also suspect that it "escaped" from the environment that it was intended and written to run in. This could be how it "got out of hand" and caused the traffic problems?
November 12th, 2003, 01:21 PM
She swallowed a spider to catch the fly. !!! so to speak.
I believe that some virii (ones not written by script kiddies)
can be used for good. I mean some of the code I have written to perform administration tasks and bypass certain aspects of security which are unrequired but cannot be disabled in normal circumstance could be classed as virii.
November 12th, 2003, 02:33 PM
Even the "good" viruses which are specifically designed to remove others and have no deliberate bad effects of their own, can still do damage.
Because these viruses, by the act of spreading itself, can cause denial of service attacks. Some are written incorrectly and will crash programs.
Or, suppose there is a good virus with absolutely no side effects, who's to say that it won't cause problems to some as yet unreleased program, for instance, a future version of M$ Windows which it causes to crash?
These are programs which spread in an uncontrolled fashion, cannot be easily uninstalled, and have no support programme in place - so they are bound to cause problems somewhere.
I am always skeptical of releasing any executable, even if I release a totally benign program with good intentions and no virus-like ability, it usually causes some problem for someone somewhere. Luckily, because I will be in contact with the users, I will be able to create a fix or a work-around for any problems they encounter. Unfortunately virus writers do not have this option.
Then there is always the danger, that some other, less able virus writer will take an otherwise perfectly benign virus and modify the program to add his own damaging payload.