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Thread: Good Viruses?

  1. #11
    Senior Member Maestr0's Avatar
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    Fred Cohen author of "Computer Viruses: Theory and Experiments" who pioneered ideas in virus propagation and is known for the positive virus(aka compression virus),Cohen's Contradictory Virus,and Cohen's Evolutionary Virus. Cohen began his experiments in 1983 on a VAX 11/750 running UNIX.

    "We define a computer virus as a program that can infect other programs by modifying them to include a slightly altered copy of itself. A virus can spread throughout a computer system or network using the authorizations of every user to infect their programs. Every program that is infected can also act as a virus and thus the infection grows."
    -Fred Cohen


    Basically nothing says they have to be bad, but good viruses only appear on paper not in practice.

    -Maestr0
    \"If computers are to become smart enough to design their own successors, initiating a process that will lead to God-like omniscience after a number of ever swifter passages from one generation of computers to the next, someone is going to have to write the software that gets the process going, and humans have given absolutely no evidence of being able to write such software.\" -Jaron Lanier

  2. #12
    IF M$ ever has their way with the world, meaning if one day everyone is running a M$ O/S and only running current M$ software on them, then there could be a good virus...

    But since currently people run varied O/S's and run many various programs on them, it would be near impossible to write a single program with viruss like attributes that wouldn't cause harm to someone, somewhere if infected.

    So currently no...

    While at the same time, I do agree Nachii would be the closest thing to a 'good' one that has come out recently. As it 'seemed' to have no negative intentions and only caused damage due to its method of replication/deployment - which if it wasn't designed to use semi-current mass-deployment methods and also added in code to remove itself after execution, it would probably of been completely benign...

    RRP

  3. #13
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    there was code green. it it was made inorder to repair and patch computers infected by code red or vulnerable systems. it had good intentions but was blasted for causing extra internet trafic.

  4. #14
    AO Ancient: Team Leader
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    Mark et al:

    I believe its author had good intentions though
    Yes, the intentions are there..... But the pre-planning, dare I say "high intellect", wasn't!

    MSBlast was a fast moving worm that would infect possibly hundreds of machines per hour. But it's total download after the initial infection was a mere 7kb, IIRC. So what did they do? they created a more aggressive worm to hunt down vulnerable machines and patch them.... Good intent.... Dumb execution...... The patch is 1.4MB.... Thats a 20,000 times increase in network usage...... All together now...... "DoS".....

    If the patch was 10k or even 20k I could see the logic..... But 1.4MB was plain dumb IMO.....

    If you are going to have good intentions take an IQ test first - Course that'll thin out the ranks of politicians too.... Oh well.....
    Don\'t SYN us.... We\'ll SYN you.....
    \"A nation that draws too broad a difference between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools.\" - Thucydides

  5. #15
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    As an anti-online virgin (first post), be gentle.

    If your machine can be compromised by someone else's code, you're "owned." If the code is "supposed" to have a good effect but you didn't actively choose to permit the code onto your system, this is still bad.

    Windows update? Fine. Even automated, this is acceptable.
    Other automatic software updates? If you set them up, great.
    Other people's choices? You're owned, and sooner or later you're not going to like it.

  6. #16
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    Originally posted here by todaraba
    As an anti-online virgin (first post), be gentle.

    If your machine can be compromised by someone else's code, you're "owned." If the code is "supposed" to have a good effect but you didn't actively choose to permit the code onto your system, this is still bad.

    Windows update? Fine. Even automated, this is acceptable.
    Other automatic software updates? If you set them up, great.
    Other people's choices? You're owned, and sooner or later you're not going to like it.
    So how was your first post(referring to the virgin comment)lol. Not bad for your first time. Welcome to AO todaraba!

  7. #17
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    Originally posted here by slarty
    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.

    Slarty
    i agree with the above ,the main point i want to make in htis is,. no matter if you have the same software i.e. operating system,antivirus,ect as the computer the virus is written for ,each computer is diffrent ,diffrent configurations ,inviroments where the virus is is installed example : having conflicting programs running at the time of installation .a computer can have the same software ,hardware ,ect . good viruses written with good intentions in opinion do more harm than good

  8. #18
    Some Assembly Required ShagDevil's Avatar
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    I see alot of good points being made in this thread and it led me to do a little researching for myself. After putzing around awhile, I found this article which really goes into the breakdown of Technical reasons both for and against 'beneficial viruses'.
    It's a bit much to read but I'm thinking it's relevent to the current debate. Anyways, I hope you guys like this link.
    http://www.virusbtn.com/old/OtherPapers/GoodVir/

    Note: Maestr0, cool thing about this article is it uses many references from Fred Cohen .
    The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his - George Patton

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