Feeds

Virus writers ‘obsessed with sex and computer games’

Dr Evil need not apply

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

Virus writers are sados obsessed with sex and computer games, not the evil geniuses Hollywood and fear-mongering Washington politicians portray them as.

That's the view of Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, who said "virus writers are much more likely to be teenage males than crack cyberterrorists bent on the annihilation of the internet."

Cluley poured cold water on the notion that viruses might bring down critical systems, pointing out that most are spread by email and are relatively easy to defend against. Viruses are a nuisance but those who elevate their threat are actually doing a disservice to security by misstating their importance, he added.

In anti-virus circles, Cluley is well known for describing virus writers (VXers) in less than flattering terms, once memorably saying they only wrote malicious code because they were spotty teenage nerds who couldn't pull.

Now gaming, as well as salacious sexual themes (for example, the Anna Kournikova worm) are becoming mainstays among virus writers. These themes show the preoccupations of both virus writers and those they are targeting with their malicious code, Cluley reckons.

The latest viruses, such as the DuLoad worm, which has the potential to infect PCs connected to the KaZaA file sharing network, and Surnova worm, have filenames related to gaming.

For example, the DuLoad worm disguises itself by randomly using a pool of 39 filenames. These filenames - which reflect a preoccupation with sex, celebrity, computer games and hacking - include 'J. Lo Bikini Screensaver.exe', 'Kama Sutra Tetris.exe', 'Free Mpegs.exe' and 'The Sims Game crack.exe', as well as some pornographic references.

Cluley's previous sociological analysis of virus writing has been less than favourably received among VXers themselves.

Most notably he clashed with female virus writer Gigabyte (creator of the first virus that used Microsoft's C# language), who lambasted Cluley as sexist for his comments on Usenet newsgroups.

Far from being sexist, Cluley told us, his remarks only reflected the idea the girls were generally "too sensible" to write viruses (patronising bastard - Ed). ®

Related Stories

Worm spreads through KaZaA network, again
Sex starved virus writers go for revenge

External Links

Rob Rosenberger, of VMyths.com, debunks fears that Osama bin Laden is about to create an uber-virus

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?