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Why I write viruses (and how not to stop me)

Final Chaos [1]
May 1999

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(A brief background for further discussion aimed at those who despise virus authors and/or think it is immoral to write viruses.)

I write viruses as a challenge. I like programming, and writing spreadsheet and database software etc (like I used to have to in college) bores me. The idea of a little program that can make a copy of itself even when watched by software specifically designed to stop it intrigues me. I try to write something that can evade this software. The developers of the software have a team of full-time, highly paid programmers working constantly to stop viruses, and here's me, someone who has hardly programmed at all in comparison, working out of my house in my spare time and actually beating their software. That's a challenge, it's a buzz when it works, that's why I do it. I do not spread or encourage the spreading of my (or any other) viruses. I have no interest in spreading my creations to see them in the wild-list, I have no interest in causing damage to anyone's computer, I write only for my own self-recognition. The only other recognition I would like is that of the virus writing scene in general, but it's not the reason I write. Maybe it's a strange hobby, but I shouldn't be stopped from doing it just because it's strange in someone else's opinion.

I don't have to justify what I do to my computer to anyone, at least, I shouldn't. I paid for it, it's mine, I can destroy it with a hammer if I feel like it. If I want to write a virus on my computer, or even infect my computer, I will. It's nobody else's business, and I don't have to listen to people whose interest in the field exceeds their knowledge. That means you, Joe Public. You've never even bothered to notice that there is a psychological difference between writing and distributing viruses, yet you still presume to judge me and my actions. I welcome any reasonable discussion, provided of course I have the time and you know what you're talking about. All I seem to get is name-calling and ranting.

I don't break any laws, I don't have any wish to spread viruses, but if someone who shares my enthusiasm for them wants to see my source code, they can. I can teach what I can to anyone who wants to learn, without being responsible for their motives. I will not encourage people to spread viruses, but if they do, I will not presume to lecture them. If I let people see anything it's only after they have agreed to be responsible for their own actions. I am not a baby-sitter, I will not hide things away to stop them falling into the wrong hands. The 'wrong hands' are responsible for their own actions, provided they have been warned of the danger. I also actively encourage newcomers to the field to release their work through E-zines rather than just release viruses into the wild. (This forum (Project Zero) has yet to be evaluated fully by the anti-virus community)

In the end, you won't stop me by telling me what to do. If you want to stop me, you must understand why I do it, then convince me that I'm doing wrong. I don't think I am, and until I'm convinced by a well thought-out, rational argument by you, I'm not likely to change my mind. Just in case you're unsure, name-calling doesn't even come close to being a rational argument. The lack of reason and lack of willingness to listen from your side of the argument indicates uncertainty. I am certain I'm in the right, and I am declaring so now, calmly, reasonably, ready to listen to your arguments and in public. There is no justification any more in pleading ignorance of my views, they are here for all in black and white. If you are sure of your views, discuss them, don't dictate them, and I will listen.

If you want to be heard by virus writers, you should understand why we write them in the first place, and not just assume that we're in the same league as people who destroy public property for 'something to do'. If after reading this you're thinking that that's exactly what we are, and that I'm missing your point, then I suggest you start again from the top impartially this time, you're exactly the type of person I'm addressing. I for one am perfectly willing to help stem the flow of viruses into the wild, but I will not give up my hobby. Every time I'm called names by someone who hasn't bothered to try and understand my point first, I get a little closer to giving up trying to explain myself altogether... why should I try to justify my actions which I believe to be innocent to someone who's not going to listen? Why bother?. Lack of communication is the most common cause of conflict, I'm trying to keep that from happening now. If you want to be able to say you've done everything in your power to 'talk sense' into the authors of viruses, you need to do more than has been done to date. By dictating to people who are anonymous, without the willingness to listen reasonably, you almost daring people to do their worst. You've said we are scum, you've tried to have us hunted down and locked up, so what would we lose by writing and spreading a destructive virus? Only our morals, but then, you keep saying we don't have any..... Think it through.

				- MidNyte

As always, I welcome ANY feedback, good or bad, as long as it is reasonable.

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