Feeds

Virus writers ‘obsessed with sex and computer games’

Dr Evil need not apply

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, watchdog claims
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.