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Interview with Dark Fiber

Cicatrix

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How did you start out in computers?

phew. looong time ago. were talking back in the days when people had vic20's and trs-80's. i dont really remember the how but iirc, it was a christmas present.

How and when did you start out in the virus scene?

a lot of my disks became infected with "stoned" and i became intrigued. my mate Australian Parasite and i were big into cracking and training back then (circa late 80's, 87?88?). the only viruses around were stoned and cascade and there was no such thing as "original" sources only really bad dissasemblies.

Have you written viruses? If so which would you like to take credit for?

this and that ^_^. i'll take credit for lady death, and the vtboot stuff. australian parasite and I worked mostly together on some things so the line can be blurry.

How did you name your viruses?

very hard to pin down. i have an anime + manga (japanese animation + comics) fetish and also read widely, thats where i draw some stuff from, mostly its spur of the moment things like a word from a song or phrase. split second was named after the movie and jitr bugs was named after a new amiga virus was discovered in australia called jitrs. most of the time they didnt have names. there are a lot of injokes of course.

Which programming languages do you know?

cobol, c++, c, asm, visual basic, some lisp, sql, some oracle, access basic (vb:) and some tiny obscure things.

What programming language do you like using the most?

i'm getting in to the c++ now, i like the idea behind it but some of the execution is a bit erugh ^_^.

Are/were you a member of a VX group?

yes, first was Australian Institute of Hackers, then I joined [NuKE] for a short time.

Which AV software do you like/respect the most? Which the least?

the least is easy so I'll start with that. I reaaaally hate VET with a passion. (VET is australian and here in Melbourne, most schools & uni's use it.)

What are/were your goals (VX wise)?

Well, back then the aim was to be the smallest possible with the most functionality, and later to try and be technically good (insofar as a virus can be....) even if you used tricks that you know will limit its use to only one machine configuration and noone else in the world has that configuration, it was still like "pwhoaar, look at this!"

What is your view on the continuous 'war' between VX and AV.

I think the "war" was overblown. back in the rabid-esque days it was a real competitive war, but after that it was not a technical war anymore, it became an attitude thing, well know AV speakers were always targeted, you can still read a lot of interviews where VX people have this opinion of AV and its based on nothing. I've had some good email discussions with several AV and we've got along well. More VX people need to take the time to see the AV people as "people" i think.

Where did you get you handle? What does it mean?

ooh hehe, well back in the early 80's there was some show (anime) which name i dont remember but the ninja used a "dark fiber" to strangle his enemy. later on i think it was Bruce Sterling who used the term in a book of his about fibre optic cable thats not in use? and people often think my handle comes from that but it doesnt.

What is your view on Virus Creation software (eg. VCL, PS-MPC etc.)?

in the time period of the VCL, IVP, MPC, they served thier purpose well I think, VCL the most. The aim was to bring viruses to the masses. They no longer serve their purpose tho, and I think many regret their introduction altogether. I do.

What is your view on macro viruses vs. assembly or HLL viruses?

Macro viruses I totally detest! Viruses are about programming and macros are not. As for HLL viruses, well, I lean to not likeing them. So much for small and tricky, now we have big, crappy and nothing much beyond companion viruses.

Have you ever confirmed one of your viruses 'in-the-wild'?

many in australia but not many in overseas places.

Which VX E-zine do you like to most? Which the least?

Ah' I'm an emag junkie, i have hundereds (not all VX ofcourse), 40hex lead the pack way back when and the next issue is still "two weeks" ^_^ away iirc.... VLAD did alright as a forum for conveying articles and information. the last two or so IR magazines I've enjoyed. I find I have enjoyed the articles on AV more than the VX stuff.

Which individual or what group do you like/respect in the VX world?

Dark Avenger was like "the man" but few ever heard from him (and none in my part of the world). He was the only "idol" back when I was around.

In the AV world?

Well, tough question. Alan Solomon has my vote I guess, of the AV guys i've emailed and so forth, as for others, I dont know who is and isnt around anymore.

Which individual or what group do you like/respect outside the VX or the AV world?

As in just ordinary people I admire? Oda Nobunga, Temujin (the Khan), musashi miyamoto, sun tzu, bodhiharma (Ta Mo), and my si-gung William Chueng. The reasons of which I wont go into.

What is your view on destructive payloads in viruses?

catch 22. I've done one or two so who am I to talk? I dont like them. to infect someones machine is one thing but to erase work, memories and maybe someones living is not something I like. Payloads only make detection that much quicker. then again, maybe thats what the author wants? I know i had a chip on my shoulder and an attitude and a half at one stage.

Do you think there is such a thing as a 'good' virus?

according to whose ideas? :) Ves' famous paper? If so then no. But in the context of what is possible, then yes. a good virus is one that infects a mahcine and does not interrupt its use in any way, which most people will see as a contridiction but......

What do you do in 'real' life?

computer programmer and a small bit of systems analysis. I also do martial arts and write. those who knew me in the virus scene knew I loved writing articles of some kind, i did several of my own non vx magazines. Even contemplated giving up computers for good and going into writing but.....

Did people outside the VX scene know what you did (parents, girlfriend etc.)?

Nobody but a few close friends ever knew what I did. My parents never knew, but a couple of my girlfriends knew. non computer literate people either see it as something atrocious or dont know what to think of it.

Did you do other computer stuff outside VX (Hacking, phreaking, warez etc.)?

yeah, I grew up in the cracking/training scenee. c64's, vic20's apples, etc. I still did demo coding on an irregular basis. I was more of a utils kinda person than anything.

Should viruses be illegal? Is there a difference between creation and spreading?

deliberate spreading? hands up how many old timers who never infected a copy of scan or something? I ranted on before over the "legal" thing. I think it boils down to some form of punishment if you deliberately infect some business. if your going to deliberatly infect a business then you AIM to do harm or you wouldnt do it. Its a very grey issue i think.

Describe the perfect virus.

Hmmm. non-realisticly? to be as small as possible, infectinf all known types of executables. multiplatform is optional. the aim of a virus is to spread, so things like a polymorphic engine are only added extras. comes with free airconditioning.

What is your view on Windows (95)

It was inevitable. Computers for the masses, I dont have a huge "hate" for it. It was smart business on microsofts behalf. as a product it succeeds i think. as a marketing tool it goes beyond everything. from a geek point of view? i still wouldnt get rid of it, for what it aims to do i think it does well. collectivly unifying all the hardware + software interfaces so you only need to write to one driver api, etc.

What is your advice for people just starting out?

not to bother really. I dont think a newbie could make it (beyond shitty macro crap). Who learns assembler nowdays? I think some of the new windows viruses were writen in a HL? I woudlnt advise anyone to get into the virus scene now. maybe they should try the emulation scene?

Where can you be reached if at all?

well i've had the same email address for eons, which is still [email protected] and yes, i STILL get mail asking me for the password for VCL. I never found out who but someone put it in the documentation for it. -_- ahh well.

Any greets?

quark, metabolis, unforgiven and metal militia oh and slash wu! hi guys, hope all is well with your lives and loves. gan batte ne!

Short responses to the following names or words:

Why did you quit writing viruses?

a very public fued with falcon who decided that if he didnt get let into #virus on irc he was going to screw everyone around. I also got bored of it.

Did you quit cold-turkey or did you find it hard to stop?

quit cold turkey and have no urge to go back to it.

Any regrets?

life is half chance. we rolled the dice and we live with it.

Do you still keep in touch with the VX world?

no, well i still talk to The Unforgiven and a couple of others via email.

Were you able to use your VX knowledge in the non-VX world?

yes, i'm getting a job out of it (well fingers crossed), its not a AV job but its security type stuff.

What do you do now?

program these infernal machines! :)

What was the most common reaction when you quit?

- VX not much. some people tried to get me to keep going, others could not have given a stuff :)

- AV I dont know. I guess they are usually elated when someone decides to do other things.

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