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Interview with Executioner

Virtual Daemon

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Here we are, face to face with one of the best active coders out there: Executioner from Living Turmoil (also known as Unknown or Unk or whatever ;-). Unky (as I like to call him) is a megacool guy and a hell of a coder. Actually, he's one of the best allround coders I've met till now on IRC. He's a good friend and he always tries to help you with your problems. He's also a network sysadm and a Linux/UNIX guru. So, if you ever have ANY QUESTIONS about Linux, he's your man... =)

Errr... let's begin with the common questions... :) First, tell our readers some things about yourself.

I'm just an average guy. I've got a girlfriend and a social circle and all that. I'm not weird looking, I'm not obsessed with my mother, I'm not physically disfigured. Just thought I'd dispel those particular myths. I'm 19 years old, and a university dropout (I'm never going back). I do programming for a living and for fun, I compete in sports, and I like math. I'm about 5'8", short brown hair, I enjoy long walks on the beach, my fav.... hehe. I guess this is as opportune a moment as any. Love ya X! You know who you are.

What does your handle means? When and why did you choosed it?

If you mean Executioner, it's just my latest handle among others. I won't discuss those other handles. I picked it because I thought it was funny... executing files. Executioner. You know. If you mean Unknown, which is what I go by now mostly, I just picked it because on IRC I was unknown to everyone. Then it got defiled (Unkle Normality???) and it stuck.

Tell us something about your first computer/virus related experience.

I got infected with Michaelangelo and Slow at the same time a long time ago, and that piqued my interest. I was already programming in assembly and a few other HL languages, so I poked around the code and started writing my own.

During the last 2 years, you have been a member of Dark Conspiracy, a group who died, then you were in LT/RSA who also got disolved and then you reformed Living Turmoil. What really happened between you guys then? Why all those splits?

Dark Conspiracy died because Exorcist didn't really know anything, and he sorta disappeared. I guess he was more interested in phreaking and regular vandalism or something. I didn't really know him that well. But somewhere just before DC died, Warblade decided he wanted a new group without the dead weight in DC. That's when LT started. RSA started around the same time, also from an ex-member of DC (Wild W0rker) and White Angel. WW wanted his own group, so we merged about a week before we released LT #1. Then everyone just quit basically. Warblade got out of the virus thing, Krackbaby just vanished, and everyone went their own ways. Yosha and I got interested again (Yosha's real dedicated :>) so we got Random, Alchemy, and Rusty together. Tornado's listed in the credits, because we never really heard if he quit, and Rusty isn't listed because of an editorial oversight (me!). Now Yosha quit to join FS. Then I quit. I guess at that point, LT didn't exist anymore.

Although DC was a promising team, most of its members retired. Which of the guys from DC are still active and if so, in what groups?

Hard to say. I'm ... activish. Yosha is activish. Random is theoretically active. Rusty is something. WW shows up in #virus sometimes, but I don't know what he's doing. I don't know about the rest of them, but I think they've all quit.

How was the Dark Conspiracy organized?

Some kind of odd thing with Presidents and Vice-Presidents. If I recall correctly, Exorcist was the President, with WW, Warblade, and someone as Vice-Presidents. We had official ANSi people too. There was some sort of h/p element as well apparently.

What about LT/RSA or Living Turmoil?

In LT/RSA, Warblade continued the Presidency thing, only two Presidents (Warblade of LT, and WW of RSA). After Warblade left we just made it into people. No weird rankings.

What does Living Turmoil means? Why did you choosed that name for your group?

It sounded cool. I think of it as being a chaotic organization, a lot like a living organism. But really, it just sounded cool at the time. And it was easy to make a logo for.

Although the first two numbers of your zine had a great success, you guys are somehow.... inactive at the moment... ;) What happened? Is this the end of Living Turmoil?

Hell no! We'll release something. I've polished up that useless polymorphism tutorial to include 386+ opcodes, and I'm starting an ELF tutorial that will be relatively valid for all ELF using OS but targetted mostly towards Linux/ FreeBSD/SCO. I don't know if it'll be released as LT or not though.

Update: Actually, that's not going to happen. LT has died since the original interview.

Who are the current LT members and what is their "job" in the group?

None, since the group has died.

From what I've seen so far, you have a very unique coding style. How many viruses did you coded so far and how many of them got released in the wild?

I dunno. In the Lame Virus family, there are 50+ and there are a number of other things (Carnage, Rubix-Cube, Swap, etc.) but I've never counted them. Most of them are unremarkable, simple COM/EXE resident stuff. I'd say I've done about 12 truly different interesting viruses. There are a few variants of each using the same code base. I've heard of three of them being in the wild somewhere. I think one of them was a Lame family member, not sure about the others.

What is your view on destructive payloads?

It's not that exciting. I don't have any particular moral or ethical objection, but I think the replication and the methods used in hiding are the most fascinating. I'm very intrigued with polymorphism, and to anti-debugging to a lesser degree. It's probably due to my math interest and my interest in complexity theory.

What's your opinion about virus writing in general? What about virus spreading? Should any of them be illegal?

Virus writing should be legal. Virus spreading should be illegal. It only makes sense, because it is a destructive act, and in order to protect society one must make laws that prevent destructive acts. I don't think the penalties should be so harsh though. I believe that if the public had more knowledge about viruses there wouldn't be such a stigma. "My God, you spread a virus? Devilspawn, get thee hence" and "Yet another child molester was sentenced to 6 months in a minimum security golf course."

What do you do besides virus coding? What other programming languages do you know?

I work as a system administrator for a relatively huge ISP, I do embedded software programming for custom hardware, I do regular development under a variety of platforms (UNIX, Windows, Linux), and I know the regular assortment of languages. Pascal, C, C++ (I hate it), a little Lisp, COBOL, Forth, Modula-2/3, and other academic languages. My favourite languages are Perl and assembly however. If you want to do something high level, use Perl. It's so common sense. If you want something tight, use assembly. There's no reason to use anything else (ok, I exaggerate).

What is your favourite virus?

It's not really a virus I suppose, but I'd have to say the MtE. I was reticent about viruses when I first looked into them, but when I saw that I was hooked.

What is your oppinion about virus creation tools? What's your favourite one?

EVG/3 Unreleased Beta! :) Just kidding. I liked NRLG because it looked pretty. Hats off to you, Azrael. Other than that, I don't think they're all that fantastic. What I do see them as, is the basis of a new movement in virus writing -- viruses that change their entire structure based on a pattern. A new phase in polymorphism. I was jabbering about that a while ago when I wrote the DCG (Dynamic Code Generator) but I didn't do much beyond a simple polymorphic encrypting shell around a COM infector that mutated before I kinda quit writing viruses.

What do you think about stealth/polymorphism/tunelling?

Cool. Very cool. That is *the* future of viruses.

How do you see the virus scene (past, present and future)?

It was cool before because it had that cloak 'n' dagger feel to it. Now it's cool because it almost feels like a plausible technology to develop. There's some very good minds in the scene.

What about the AV scene?

Wankers mostly. They talk a lot. I'm not going to mention any names so they won't get swelled heads.

What e-zines do you like? What is your favourite e-zine?

I liked 40Hex. Nothing fancy, but solid technical info. All the stuff from VLAD for much the same reason. And the IR/G people (both the mags) because they looked cool, and I liked the idea of infecting pr0n people with that GIF replacer.

What was (is) the best group in the scene?

P/S. It's the first stuff I read, downloaded straight from Landfill. I dunno, I just prefer it. I was lame back then. They impressed me.

Who are the persons you admire most from the scene and why? What about people you like to talk to?

How do I say something without offending someone? I respect and admire anyone who has ever done anything innovative. I like talking to most of the people on UnderNet #virus tho. Hi pox, promethyl, vd, yosha, random, bob, darkman, etc. I think Qark is cool however, because he wrote an ELF infector without any stuff to work with. Same with Dark Avenger. I'm purposefully not looking at Qark's Linux infector because I don't want to know how he did the stuff he did until I have a very good understanding of it on my own.

What's your favourite antivirus program?

F-Prot and Dr. Solomon's. I haven't upgraded for ages though, so maybe there's something better out there. I just liked the /GURU /PARANOID detail better than TBAV (lame! lame!).

Many people (including me) consider you a Linux/UNIX guru. Where did this passion for Linux came from? ;-)

Many people are confused. I just love Linux. Think about it -- it's this operating system that is more efficient in terms of resources, faster, more stable, designed with a better underlying philosophy, written by competent programmers... As opposed to an inefficient, slow, unstable, poorly thought out OS. What do you think?

Let's say that a beginner asks you how can (s)he starts in virus coding.What will you answer?

Learn assembly language. But first, learn something like C. It's nice and low-level (relatively speaking). Even before that, think about why you want to write viruses. If it's just to infect your school or something, just get someone else's viruses and do it. Don't waste anyone else's time by pestering them with stupid questions.

Do any of your friends knows that you code computer viruses? What do they think about that?

Some people know what I do. Nobody that I've ever met has had any kind of problem with it, but I don't tell people that I think would get upset.

What do you do besides computers in your life?

I don't really do much. It's my only source of income, and I don't intend to get any other sources. It's also where most of my hobbies lie.

Okay... here comes the fun part... :) Tell us something about your hobbies, favourite music, favourite food, favourite movies, etc...

I used to practise Tae Kwon Do; I'm a nationally ranked Olympic-style weightlifter; I like drinking, especially good scotch whisky; I listen to mostly metal, industrial, celtic harps, and alternative. I have a decent collection of celtic harp music. If you haven't listened to it before, do so. I'll eat anything. I'll also watch anything. Favorites though... The Godfather, The Usual Suspects, Disney films, Alien, the list goes on. If I could do anything I wanted, I'd probably get myself a network of 150 or so machines and fuck around writing obscure software. That would be heaven. :)

What is your prefferate place on Earth? Where would you go if you'd have let's say... "enough" money? ;]

I'd like to live in New York, I think. But that's just a guess, since I've never been there. Anywhere that's a big city. I grew up in a rural hellhole, and I never want to go back to that.

What do you think about UFOs and stuff? Do you believe in extraterestrial life?

It'd be a little egotistical to think that we're the only intelligent life in the universe. Or even that Gaia is the only source of life period.

Umm... being a computer tehnician you probably know a lot of stuph about hardware. How will a computer look like in your oppinion in... let's say 2100?

There won't be computers as such for the most part. Just devices that are as common and normal as pens and paper. Every manufactured object will have its own IP address. The entire world will be one enormous network.

If you could travel in time, where would you like to go? (time, place)

Either 20-30 years ago to work with the first real computers, or 50-60 years in the future to play with the cool stuff that I figure will be coming around then.

b00p.. unfort, we've reached the end of this short interview... Any greetz you would like to send out?

Xylia, yosha, pox, rusty, vd, miind, lych, prometh, methyl, avgur, darkman, sm, all the old lt/dc/rsa ppl, ir/g, vlad, p/s, etc. Hell, everyone.

Free space... (write whatever you want)

free pancakes in #virus, offer ends today

Thanks for the interview man... cya around ciao

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