Monday, January 19, 2009

Conficker Worm Still Going Strong

According F-Secure's latest report, this lovely worm going with the names Downadup, Kido and Conficker has so far affected close to 9 million computers (figure does not include corporations who forgot to patch their systems and hiding the fact they are infected). Since this place is not a technical site, we will not go into details like how to remove it, anti-virus software, on-line scanners and such. Instead, we will try to tackle the urge for writing such a magnificent (in spite of the damage caused, its code deserves recognition) program.

In his article "Ethics and the Urge" [1], Guido Sanchez of VIPER (Viral Inclined Programming Experts Ring) discusses about lame boards [2], several ways to dispose of them, and also the ethics involved in making someone's life miserable just because they are evolutionarily ranked just below slime mold:

There's a certain board in Colorado, called the Sound Doctrine BBS {303-680-7209}, and I call up... After downloading some nice french utilities, I realize that the board is a religious board, sponsored by some church.  Yes, the kind of religious board that carries the Adam's Rib echo, and has an on line "game" called 'The Beast' which finds the numerical hex value of any word you type in i.e. JESUS=444, SANTA CLAUS=666, LUCIFER=444, etc. This sickens me, as I am an agnostic who believes that religion should not mix with modeming.  Of course there's only one thing to do.  I shell to DOS, unzip 'WHALE.ZIP' from my \NASTY directory, rename it 'JONAH.EXE' (some of you can see this coming from a mile away), go into the VIPER Trojan Horse Construction Kit [3], create a fake 'JONAH.DAT' file of about 48k length, and write up a 'JONAH.DOC' file which goes a little something like this...

"Thanks for downloading 'Jonah and the Whale' from your local bulletin board system!  Here are the instructions of the game.  Simply make sure the JONAH.EXE and JONAH.DAT files are in the same directory, and then type 'JONAH'. It's as easy as that!
How to Play:
Simply use the arrow keys to help Jonah avoid the whale.
VGA/EGA/CGA SB/Adlib support
Please send me money!
Mathurin Picard 1234 fake address"

OK now I pose the question to you.. Is what I did chronicled in the above lines funny?  Damn straight. Is it ironic? Of course!!  Now here's the biggy.. Is it RIGHT?  ooooh.. lets see why or why not, shall we?

He then goes on to describe how he crashed two more boards and here comes the interesting part:
  1.  I asked myself, before crashing these boards, three questions.
    • Do they deserve it?
    • Why?
    • Do they have any way of finding out it was me?
  2. The only boards worth crashing are those that misuse our Ambrosia,  knowledge. They do this by..
    • promoting unfounded beliefs (such as ANY religion except Discordianism)
    • using the knowledge (i.e. bytes and bits) to get sexual gratification
    • devoting their life to such mind candy as Wing Commander II etc at 2400
In essence, crashing boards in these fashions is a sort of Cyberpunk Euthanasia for us.  I do it because I believe that these people are misusing knowledge, and if they continue to do so, it will result in harm to themselves and others (including possibly myself).  Others just do it for fun.  And that is to be respected, cause, hey all, lets face it.  There's nothing more gratifying than persuading a lamer board's SysOp's little brother or sister into giving you SysOp access, resulting in the board's demise.  Now if only they'd figure out a way to allow us to see the sysop's face...

Sadly, the puritanism of Sanchez and his friends has long since disappeared.

[1] Anaconda #001: The Official VIPER Electronic Mag.
[2] It is a BBS, a bulletin board; the article is dated 1992.
[3] Viper did release that kit.


lvs said...

Is it still alive because most people realize its beauty and want it to live on :) I see one fan in you already? I have often heard scientists proudly claim that computer viruses are the closest we have come to creating new life forms.

Archiver said...

You may be right. One thing that really bothers me is the lack of communication between virus writers and the artificial intelligence community. If only virus writers were more interested in A.I. instead of malice.

IT Zone said...

Its weird

Archiver said...

It is, indeed.

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