computer virus

Discussion in 'Computer Security' started by aniram, Feb 2, 2004.

  1. aniram

    aniram Guest

    Just curious, or I may be watching too many Sci-fi movies.
    Is it possible that computer virus mutates by itself and exposing to
    the public? Computer viruses may originally be instructed by human,
    but is it possible that they became out of control and starts attcking
    computer without human instruction? .... just like flu and other
    viruses that attack human's health.
     
    aniram, Feb 2, 2004
    #1
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  2. aniram

    kulm_nd Guest

    Mutate by itself, no. Mutate because the code says to, yes. Polymorphic
    viruses have been a round for a long time.

    --

    ************************************************

    g-w


    "aniram" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Just curious, or I may be watching too many Sci-fi movies.
    > Is it possible that computer virus mutates by itself and exposing to
    > the public? Computer viruses may originally be instructed by human,
    > but is it possible that they became out of control and starts attcking
    > computer without human instruction? .... just like flu and other
    > viruses that attack human's health.
     
    kulm_nd, Feb 2, 2004
    #2
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  3. aniram

    Leythos Guest

    In article <>,
    says...
    > Just curious, or I may be watching too many Sci-fi movies.
    > Is it possible that computer virus mutates by itself and exposing to
    > the public? Computer viruses may originally be instructed by human,
    > but is it possible that they became out of control and starts attcking
    > computer without human instruction? .... just like flu and other
    > viruses that attack human's health.


    Yea, Linux is like that :)

    Actually, a virus with the ability to do that is already around, but
    they are to large to send by standard means to attack most users... Most
    people would never fall for it.

    --
    --

    (Remove 999 to reply to me)
     
    Leythos, Feb 2, 2004
    #3
  4. In article <>,
    says...
    > In article <>,
    > says...
    > > Just curious, or I may be watching too many Sci-fi movies.
    > > Is it possible that computer virus mutates by itself and exposing to
    > > the public? Computer viruses may originally be instructed by human,
    > > but is it possible that they became out of control and starts attcking
    > > computer without human instruction? .... just like flu and other
    > > viruses that attack human's health.

    >
    > Yea, Linux is like that :)
    >


    see, a completely unprovoked linux attack. that which we're not
    familiar, we scorn.


    > Actually, a virus with the ability to do that is already around, but
    > they are to large to send by standard means to attack most users... Most
    > people would never fall for it.
    >
    >




    "...but they are to large to send by standard means"

    you're so full of shit... and that's proof positive.

    try doing a bit of research on "polymorphic virus" and learn.

    read the last paragraph here:
    http://www.winplanet.com/winplanet/reports/1256/1/


    --
    Colonel Flagg
    http://www.internetwarzone.org/

    Privacy at a click:
    http://www.cotse.net

    Q: How many Bill Gates does it take to change a lightbulb?
    A: None, he just defines Darkness? as the new industry standard..."

    "...I see stupid people."
     
    Colonel Flagg, Feb 2, 2004
    #4
  5. aniram

    IPGrunt Guest

    Colonel Flagg <> seems to
    think in news::

    > In article <>,
    > says...
    >> In article <>,
    >> says...
    >> > Just curious, or I may be watching too many Sci-fi movies.
    >> > Is it possible that computer virus mutates by itself and exposing
    >> > to the public? Computer viruses may originally be instructed by
    >> > human, but is it possible that they became out of control and
    >> > starts attcking computer without human instruction? .... just like
    >> > flu and other viruses that attack human's health.

    >>
    >> Yea, Linux is like that :)
    >>

    >
    > see, a completely unprovoked linux attack. that which we're not
    > familiar, we scorn.
    >
    >
    >> Actually, a virus with the ability to do that is already around, but
    >> they are to large to send by standard means to attack most users...
    >> Most people would never fall for it.
    >>
    >>

    >
    >
    >
    > "...but they are to large to send by standard means"
    >
    > you're so full of shit... and that's proof positive.
    >
    > try doing a bit of research on "polymorphic virus" and learn.
    >
    > read the last paragraph here:
    > http://www.winplanet.com/winplanet/reports/1256/1/
    >
    >



    The short answer is no.

    Viruses only do what they are programmed to do. If they attack the
    Microsoft script engine for instance, they cannot decide on their own to
    attack a disk MBR, without being coded for that function by the original
    programmer.

    I would imagine that a virus programmed for various attacks would grow
    to be too large to be practical as another poster mentioned.

    A polymorphic virus does not "mutate itself" but uses an encryption
    technique that changes its binary image code in order to get around
    antivirus programs that look for virus "signatures" or other patterns
    characteristic of the virus like a payload checksum. These are however,
    easy to detect by other means, ie, when they hook the system's file
    expand code.

    -- ipgrunt
     
    IPGrunt, Feb 2, 2004
    #5
  6. aniram

    koorb Guest

    On 2 Feb 2004 13:59:51 -0800, (aniram) wrote:

    >Just curious, or I may be watching too many Sci-fi movies.
    >Is it possible that computer virus mutates by itself and exposing to
    >the public? Computer viruses may originally be instructed by human,
    >but is it possible that they became out of control and starts attcking
    >computer without human instruction? .... just like flu and other
    >viruses that attack human's health.


    The basic concept of a virus is that it is a program that duplicates
    itself and spreads. Most don't actually do any damage, but you really
    don't want any because they use up system resources.

    As another poster has stated polymorphic viruses have been around for
    awhile. These mutate their own code so that it looks different and
    generally makes itself harder to detect by AntiVirus (kind of like the
    common cold).

    As far as SciFi visions of intelligent viruses taking over the net and
    becoming conscious are concerned. Not with today's technology, because
    everything about a virus has to be hard coded. It might be able to
    make intelligent decisions about how best to attack a system or what
    actions to take, but it all has to be predetermined by the programmer.
    And this goes for most forms of modern day AI.
     
    koorb, Feb 3, 2004
    #6
  7. aniram

    Leythos Guest

    In article <>,
    says...
    > In article <>,
    > says...
    > > In article <>,
    > > says...
    > > > Just curious, or I may be watching too many Sci-fi movies.
    > > > Is it possible that computer virus mutates by itself and exposing to
    > > > the public? Computer viruses may originally be instructed by human,
    > > > but is it possible that they became out of control and starts attcking
    > > > computer without human instruction? .... just like flu and other
    > > > viruses that attack human's health.

    > >
    > > Yea, Linux is like that :)

    >
    > see, a completely unprovoked linux attack. that which we're not
    > familiar, we scorn.


    Did you miss the smiley? It was a joke. I run Linux.

    > > Actually, a virus with the ability to do that is already around, but
    > > they are to large to send by standard means to attack most users... Most
    > > people would never fall for it.

    >
    > "...but they are to large to send by standard means"
    >
    > you're so full of shit... and that's proof positive.


    Do you really know anything about anything or are you just always such
    as nasty person about everything?

    > try doing a bit of research on "polymorphic virus" and learn.


    A virus that would "learn" would be rather large, we're not talking
    about a simple programmed virus, but one that could reinvent itself to
    continue to spread by learning/testing blocking methods.


    --
    --

    (Remove 999 to reply to me)
     
    Leythos, Feb 3, 2004
    #7
  8. In article <>,
    says...
    > are you just always such
    > as nasty person about everything?
    >



    not always. just when I want to be.




    --
    Colonel Flagg
    http://www.internetwarzone.org/

    Privacy at a click:
    http://www.cotse.net

    Q: How many Bill Gates does it take to change a lightbulb?
    A: None, he just defines Darkness? as the new industry standard..."

    "...I see stupid people."
     
    Colonel Flagg, Feb 3, 2004
    #8
  9. aniram

    Mimic Guest

    "aniram" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Just curious, or I may be watching too many Sci-fi movies.
    > Is it possible that computer virus mutates by itself and exposing to
    > the public? Computer viruses may originally be instructed by human,
    > but is it possible that they became out of control and starts attcking
    > computer without human instruction? .... just like flu and other
    > viruses that attack human's health.


    oh nice one, you just reminded me to code my T-Virus :p

    --
    Mimic

    ZGF0YWZsZXhAY2FubmFiaXNtYWlsLmNvbQ== ( www.hidemyemail.net )
    "Without knowledge you have fear. With fear you create your own nightmares."
    "There are 10 types of people in the world. Those that understand Binary,
    and those that dont."
    "He who controls Google, controls the world".
     
    Mimic, Feb 3, 2004
    #9
  10. "kulm_nd" <> wrote in message
    news:EOzTb.35935$P%...
    > Mutate by itself, no. Mutate because the code says to, yes. Polymorphic
    > viruses have been a round for a long time.


    I seem to remember that two or three years ago, a worm picked up a virus. I
    can't remember the name of the worm or the virus. What happened was that the
    worm used Word documents on the computer of the victim to hide itself, and
    sent itself to addresses it found in the address book. One day, the worm hid
    itself in a Word document that contained the virus, and it sent out Word
    documents containing the worm and the virus.

    Filip
     
    Filip van Laenen, Feb 3, 2004
    #10
  11. aniram

    Jason Eberly Guest

    On Mon, 02 Feb 2004 13:59:51 -0800, aniram wrote:

    > Just curious, or I may be watching too many Sci-fi movies. Is it
    > possible that computer virus mutates by itself and exposing to the
    > public? Computer viruses may originally be instructed by human, but is
    > it possible that they became out of control and starts attcking computer
    > without human instruction? .... just like flu and other viruses that
    > attack human's health.


    I had an idea for something along the lines of a 'learning virus'
    (speaking strictly academically, mind you... I do *NOT* write, nor do I
    endorse the writing of, viral code of any sort.)

    The basic idea, originally, was to create a database of potential/known
    exploits, and use a simple macro language of some sort to define them.
    It occurs to me now that something like Nessus would be an ideal engine,
    as it is thoroughly researched and frequently updated.

    The virus could be a separate entity from this database - checking in
    with 'known' database access points for information about how to
    fingerprint a given target system and then again to determine the best
    attack vectors (or a general spread assuming the system could not be
    fingerprinted reliably).

    Ultimately, I suppose, to survive and thrive without a dependency on a
    static host somewhere the database itself would have to be distributed.
    I imagine something like a peer-to-peer network, with each infected host
    maintaining a small portion of the database, and multiple redundant
    hosts communicating with one another - would probably do the trick. I
    mean, once a virus takes off, owned hosts are cheap, right?

    The original concept called for the system to attempt (and learn) new
    attacks and exploits 'in the wild,' but in retrospect that seems a lot
    of work - given that the crucial information (attack vector definitions)
    is readily available and in a fairly predictable and machine-readable
    format already, from multiple public sources...

    Ah, the perils of the idle mind... ;)
     
    Jason Eberly, Feb 3, 2004
    #11
  12. aniram

    Bill Unruh Guest

    koorb <> writes:

    ]On 2 Feb 2004 13:59:51 -0800, (aniram) wrote:

    ]>Just curious, or I may be watching too many Sci-fi movies.
    ]>Is it possible that computer virus mutates by itself and exposing to
    ]>the public? Computer viruses may originally be instructed by human,
    ]>but is it possible that they became out of control and starts attcking
    ]>computer without human instruction? .... just like flu and other
    ]>viruses that attack human's health.

    ]The basic concept of a virus is that it is a program that duplicates
    ]itself and spreads. Most don't actually do any damage, but you really
    ]don't want any because they use up system resources.

    ]As another poster has stated polymorphic viruses have been around for
    ]awhile. These mutate their own code so that it looks different and
    ]generally makes itself harder to detect by AntiVirus (kind of like the
    ]common cold).

    ]As far as SciFi visions of intelligent viruses taking over the net and
    ]becoming conscious are concerned. Not with today's technology, because
    ]everything about a virus has to be hard coded. It might be able to
    ]make intelligent decisions about how best to attack a system or what
    ]actions to take, but it all has to be predetermined by the programmer.
    ]And this goes for most forms of modern day AI.

    The problem is that the attack vectors are few. Ie, a random mutation is
    liable to kill the virus because the vector being attacked is not
    vulnerable with a random mutation. There is a lot lot less redundancy,
    and resistance to change in a computer program than in life (which is
    what makes computer programs so fragile.) In life almost any subsystem
    can be altered and the organism still survives. In computer programs, if
    you randomly alter even one instruction you are liable to get a crash
    and the equivalent of death. And a dead host is useless for propagation.
     
    Bill Unruh, Feb 3, 2004
    #12
  13. On that special day, aniram, () said...

    > Is it possible that computer virus mutates by itself and exposing to
    > the public? Computer viruses may originally be instructed by human,
    > but is it possible that they became out of control and starts attcking
    > computer without human instruction?


    Not "itself", but there have been variations which were generated by no
    human being but the existence of a former, different infection.

    Years ago I read about a cross-breed of two Word macro viruses, which
    did have a header from one "parent" and the executive part was taken
    over from the other "parent". But this virus wasn't very wide spread, as
    the components were already known to virus scanners, and the result
    would be removed any way.

    And then there were the piggybacks. old viruses that came across a mass
    mailer worm running in an infected machine, and infecting the worm. So
    every time the worm would mass mail, it would spread two infectious
    agents at the same time.

    Which resulted in virus scanners alarming on a file infector, and
    cleaning the worm, but at the same time overlooking it. This happened
    last year, mainly with Klez variants, IIRC.


    Gabriele Neukam




    --
    Ah, Information. A good, too valuable these days, to give it away, just
    so, at no cost.
     
    Gabriele Neukam, Feb 3, 2004
    #13
  14. aniram

    Ben Measures Guest

    Leythos wrote:
    > A virus that would "learn" would be rather large, we're not talking
    > about a simple programmed virus, but one that could reinvent itself to
    > continue to spread by learning/testing blocking methods.


    Software that can write (and modify) itself is still quite a ways away.
    (Skynet anyone?)

    Learning programs are generally implemented as rule-based
    expert-databases, ie. they build memory but don't modify themselves.

    --
    Ben M.

    ----------------
    What are Software Patents for?
    To protect the small enterprise from bigger companies.

    What do Software Patents do?
    In its current form, they protect only companies with
    big legal departments as they:
    a.) Patent everything no matter how general
    b.) Sue everybody. Even if the patent can be argued
    invalid, small companies can ill-afford the
    typical $500k cost of a law-suit (not to mention
    years of harassment).

    Don't let them take away your right to program
    whatever you like. Make a stand on Software Patents
    before its too late.

    Read about the ongoing battle at http://swpat.ffii.org/
    ----------------
     
    Ben Measures, Feb 3, 2004
    #14
  15. aniram

    Leythos Guest

    In article <vYUTb.1239$>,
    says...
    > Leythos wrote:
    > > A virus that would "learn" would be rather large, we're not talking
    > > about a simple programmed virus, but one that could reinvent itself to
    > > continue to spread by learning/testing blocking methods.

    >
    > Software that can write (and modify) itself is still quite a ways away.
    > (Skynet anyone?)
    >
    > Learning programs are generally implemented as rule-based
    > expert-databases, ie. they build memory but don't modify themselves.


    Yea, in the 70's we tried to build a robot, self contained, that would
    find a wall outlet and plug itself in to recharge. As kids, without
    funding, it was quite difficult to build this type of device. We managed
    to get it to follow walls, determine textures from the video images, and
    to find an outlet, but only if it was coded on the wall. It was
    interesting that we could get it to learn a room, but we could never get
    it to do anything we didn't program it for.

    I would guess that a "learning" application would only be limited by the
    ability of the designer.


    --
    --

    (Remove 999 to reply to me)
     
    Leythos, Feb 3, 2004
    #15
  16. aniram

    Ben Measures Guest

    Jason Eberly wrote:
    > On Mon, 02 Feb 2004 13:59:51 -0800, aniram wrote:
    >
    >
    >>Just curious, or I may be watching too many Sci-fi movies. Is it
    >>possible that computer virus mutates by itself and exposing to the
    >>public? Computer viruses may originally be instructed by human, but is
    >>it possible that they became out of control and starts attcking computer
    >>without human instruction? .... just like flu and other viruses that
    >>attack human's health.

    >
    > I had an idea for something along the lines of a 'learning virus'
    > (speaking strictly academically, mind you... I do *NOT* write, nor do I
    > endorse the writing of, viral code of any sort.)
    >
    > The basic idea, originally, was to create a database of potential/known
    > exploits, and use a simple macro language of some sort to define them.
    > It occurs to me now that something like Nessus would be an ideal engine,
    > as it is thoroughly researched and frequently updated.
    >
    > The virus could be a separate entity from this database - checking in
    > with 'known' database access points for information about how to
    > fingerprint a given target system and then again to determine the best
    > attack vectors (or a general spread assuming the system could not be
    > fingerprinted reliably).
    >
    > Ultimately, I suppose, to survive and thrive without a dependency on a
    > static host somewhere the database itself would have to be distributed.
    > I imagine something like a peer-to-peer network, with each infected host
    > maintaining a small portion of the database, and multiple redundant
    > hosts communicating with one another - would probably do the trick. I
    > mean, once a virus takes off, owned hosts are cheap, right?
    >
    > The original concept called for the system to attempt (and learn) new
    > attacks and exploits 'in the wild,' but in retrospect that seems a lot
    > of work - given that the crucial information (attack vector definitions)
    > is readily available and in a fairly predictable and machine-readable
    > format already, from multiple public sources...
    >
    > Ah, the perils of the idle mind... ;)


    I was thinking along these lines a couple of years ago. The problem is,
    I don't think anybody can update the exploit database indefinitely -
    somebody will catch up to them sooner or later.

    The bigger the infection, the harder the hunt (and burnings at the stake).

    --
    Ben M.

    ----------------
    What are Software Patents for?
    To protect the small enterprise from bigger companies.

    What do Software Patents do?
    In its current form, they protect only companies with
    big legal departments as they:
    a.) Patent everything no matter how general
    b.) Sue everybody. Even if the patent can be argued
    invalid, small companies can ill-afford the
    typical $500k cost of a law-suit (not to mention
    years of harassment).

    Don't let them take away your right to program
    whatever you like. Make a stand on Software Patents
    before its too late.

    Read about the ongoing battle at http://swpat.ffii.org/
    ----------------
     
    Ben Measures, Feb 5, 2004
    #16
  17. aniram

    Jason Eberly Guest

    On Thu, 05 Feb 2004 06:04:04 +0000, Ben Measures wrote:

    [snip]
    > I was thinking along these lines a couple of years ago. The problem is,
    > I don't think anybody can update the exploit database indefinitely -
    > somebody will catch up to them sooner or later.
    >
    > The bigger the infection, the harder the hunt (and burnings at the
    > stake).


    As to the stake burnings, perhaps you are correct - but putting the
    genie back in the bottle might be a difficult task regardless of the
    fate of the hapless author.

    As for the exploit database updates - you wouldn't have to update it,
    ever. You just configure the beastie to get them from some of the nice
    folks (like Nessus) who constantly update their security scanner script
    definitions. And, that seems to be a reasonably stable process, at
    least as of this writing.[1]

    Slap on something to keep it propagating wildly - say, for example, a
    mass mailer routine that, instead of trying to make up a believable
    subject line, simply REPLIES to valid correspondence, and to people who
    WOULD expect to receive a message from that particular sender with that
    particular subject line - and the P.T. Barnum factor would keep it
    around for ages, or at least long enough for the next wave of 'zero day'
    plugins to come down the pipe.

    All of which would be highly annoying, but as far as AI is concerned the
    only really interesting thing would be the sort of parasitic
    relationship between the worm and the maintainers of the exploit
    database. And also marginally between the worm and the otherwise valid
    sender/receiver pairs, I suppose...

    [1] Of course, one minor change to the way the plugins are distributed
    would kabosh the whole affair, or at least force the need for human
    intervention. So I guess no Skynet this year... ;)

    </ramble>
     
    Jason Eberly, Feb 5, 2004
    #17
  18. aniram

    Ben Measures Guest

    Jason Eberly wrote:
    > On Thu, 05 Feb 2004 06:04:04 +0000, Ben Measures wrote:
    >
    > [snip]
    >
    >>I was thinking along these lines a couple of years ago. The problem is,
    >> I don't think anybody can update the exploit database indefinitely -
    >>somebody will catch up to them sooner or later.
    >>
    >>The bigger the infection, the harder the hunt (and burnings at the
    >>stake).

    >
    >
    > As to the stake burnings, perhaps you are correct - but putting the
    > genie back in the bottle might be a difficult task regardless of the
    > fate of the hapless author.
    >
    > As for the exploit database updates - you wouldn't have to update it,
    > ever. You just configure the beastie to get them from some of the nice
    > folks (like Nessus) who constantly update their security scanner script
    > definitions. And, that seems to be a reasonably stable process, at
    > least as of this writing.[1]


    Heh, a "community-supported" virus of this type would speed up the war
    between virus writers and exploit patchers.

    This would probably result in one of two states:

    A.) The virus runs rampant. Everybody wakes up to the security threat
    and implement a rigorous maintenance plan for updating software.
    Exploits are eventually rendered ineffective by speedy patching.

    B.) The virus runs rampant. Discovered vunerabilities in software are
    kept classified and not publicised. Big companies apply the patches
    before smaller groups even hear of the vunerability. Viruses boom
    amongst the "dirty peasants".

    We're at this crossroads already - it'd be interesting so find out where
    we'll end up (with or without this virus).

    --
    Ben M.

    ----------------
    What are Software Patents for?
    To protect the small enterprise from bigger companies.

    What do Software Patents do?
    In its current form, they protect only companies with
    big legal departments as they:
    a.) Patent everything no matter how general
    b.) Sue everybody. Even if the patent can be argued
    invalid, small companies can ill-afford the
    typical $500k cost of a law-suit (not to mention
    years of harassment).

    Don't let them take away your right to program
    whatever you like. Make a stand on Software Patents
    before its too late.

    Read about the ongoing battle at http://swpat.ffii.org/
    ----------------
     
    Ben Measures, Feb 6, 2004
    #18
  19. aniram

    Offbreed Guest

    Ben Measures wrote:

    > B.) The virus runs rampant. Discovered vunerabilities in software are
    > kept classified and not publicised. Big companies apply the patches
    > before smaller groups even hear of the vunerability. Viruses boom
    > amongst the "dirty peasants".


    That's not going to happen. It would cut into internet commerce.

    Consider Amazon and E-Bay, just for examples; You think they make most
    of their money off other big biz?
     
    Offbreed, Feb 6, 2004
    #19
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