40hex5:(40HEX-5.004):17/02/1992 << Back To 40hex5

40Hex Number 5 Volume 2 Issue 1 File 004 Forty Hex 5 Presents An Alliance Interview with John McAfee + Jon Dvorak and Hellraiser, Garbageheap, DecimatoR, Count Zero, CRoW MeiSTeR, Instigator, Demogorgon, Dark Angel, Night Crawler, VenoM, Time Lord, Darkman. On Feb. 2nd of 1992, an alliance was run with members of PHALCON/SKISM, NuKE, and Ex-RABiD. We started the conference by trying to call Patti Hoffman, who had a shit fit, and denied being the author of VSUM. Nice of her to insult our intelligence. But anyways, we then called McAfee, who was surprisingly a nice guy. He was interested in what we had to say. Some of the topics covered were which viruses we had written, what types of viri they were(i.e. MemRes, Stealth...). Another important topic covered the Bob Ross Virus which an associate of McAfee had misnamed the Beta Virus(it was first spread on a false version of BNU(1.90Beta)). On the following day, we started a second alliance, this time involving Count Zero, CRoW MeiSTeR, Dark Angel, Demogorgon, Garbageheap(moi!), Hellraiser, Instigator, Night Crawler and Time Lord. Also in the conference were John Markoff(New York Times), Michael Alexander(Computer World), and John McAfee. A variety of topics were covered, I won't go into specifics here, because in a future issue we will have a full transcript, and in this issue we will have the article from the Feb. 10,1992 Vol.XXVI No. 6 issue of COMPUTERWORLD. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- CHALLENGE, NOTORIETY CITED AS IMPETUS FOR VIRUS DEVELOPERS(*Catchy title*) By: Michael Alexander/CW STAFF What motivates a programmer to write a virus? The thrill, declared Hell Raiser,(* that is supposed to be Hellraiser *) a self-styled virus author and a member of Phalcon/Skism, a group of about a dozen computer hackers scattered across North America. In an unusual telephone conference call to COMPUTERWORLD last week, 10 callers who said they were members of Phalcon/Skism claimed to be responsible for writing several of the viruses now on the loose.(* CLAIMED?!?!?!! Well, I suppose that he couldnt know if we were the real McCoy *) To protect their identities, the callers used such handles as Garbage Heap(* Grabbin' top billin'! *), Nightcrawler, Demogorgon, Dark Angel, and Time Lord. They said their ages range from 15 to 23 years old, although COMPUTERWORLD could not independantly verify their identities. GETTING ATTENTION ----------------- The virus authors, as they called themselves, said they arranged the teleconference to air their side of the story, and to talk about their unorthadox and contradictory brand of computer ethics. (* Well... close, we were real bored... of course, who wants to talk to bored virus authors... *) "For the most part, virus authors are seen as a lot more malicious than we actually are," Garbage Heap said. His compatriots said they write viruses mainly for the thrill but also for the challenge and the status it brings within the computer underground. The group said it is not interested in doing harm, and seldom creates viruses that are deliberately designed to cause damage. "It's sort of like graffiti - getting our name across - and damage happens in the process," he claimed.(* Hellraiser *) As an example of the type of virus they write, the group took credit for writing the Bob Ross Virus, named after the painter of the same name on who hosts a show on Public Broadcasting Service. "What it does is infect files and randomly displays 'Bobisms,' which are messages Bob Ross would say," Hell Raiser said. "It doesn't format the hard drive or do any damage." However, other alleged members of Phalcon/Skism later admitted to writing viruses that are clearly intended to damage or destroy programs and data.(* Hellraiser again... *) The callers contended that they are virus "authors," not virus "spreaders," and that they are not responsible for the problems their creations cause. "The main difference is that an author may write a virus and may even upload that virus to a virus board, a [bulletin Board system] oriented to virus programmers and spreaders," one virus author explained. "People, like a disgruntled employee who may have a gripe with someone else, download it and spread it that way," this virus author said. NOT LAWBREAKERS --------------- The virus authors also pointed out that since the act of writing a virus is not prohibited by law, they should not be viewed as criminals. The callers claimed that even if the group stopped writing viruses, the number of infections would not decline. The problem of viruses has grown so large that new viruses have no impact overall, one said. "Our effect is fairly little," he asserted. The callers said that they have been writing viruses for about a year, and would probably continue for at least another year. Eventually, they hope to find jobs as full time programmers, several said. There is no way to verify the callers' claims. However, many of the monikers the callers used, as well as the name "Phalcon/Skism," have shown up in perhaps as many as half - about 100 - of the viruses to appear in the past six or seven months, said John McAfee, president of McAfee Associates, an antivirus software publisher based in Santa Clara,Calif. The quality of the viruses is "mediocre," Mcafee said. (* Cant win 'em all can we, John? *) --------------------------------------------------------------------------- My thoughts on the article was that it was neutral, Mr. Alexander could have easily ripped us apart. We didnt expect to come out looking like heros, so why should we bitch. Next month prepare for the official transcript of the interview. Then we can truly establish what was said. -)GHeap