A member of the UK virus writing community has slammed recent analyst research as "full of irregularities and half truths".
Analyst mi2g recently released a study on the virus writing community claiming that they fit the stereotype of being fairly young, male and getting no commercial benefit from their activities.
But PaX, a member of the UK virus community, disputed the description. "I won't comment on others but I am 36 and happily married with three children," he said. "The average age of a virus programmer is 28 and none that I know of have green hair or a love of drugs and heavy metal music."
However, he did acknowledge that "the individuals that present the biggest threat are the new breed of virus modifier that have no programming skills and yet churn out various modifications to second rate macro viruses. There is your 'serial virus writer'. The ones with no skill or moral consideration for others."
PaX offered an insider's perspective on the virus community which contradicted the finger pointing of mi2g. He said that, of those virus authors named in mi2G's report, only Melissa author David Smith and the Black Baron have been accused of criminal damage through virus spreading.
According to PaX, Z0mbie is currently a member of the 29a virus group and his work tends to be well written code which is usually submitted to antivirus companies as a challenge.
Benny, also of 29a, never spreads viruses or makes them available to those that do. "You will never find one of his viruses on the 'wild list' as, like Z0mbie, he submits them to antivirus companies as proof of concept," said PaX.
Chen Ing-Hau, who wrote CIH, gave the source code to a number of people, including PaX, as members of the Source Of Kaos web group. "Again, Chen has never been a virus spreader," maintained PaX.
Talking of the community, PaX said: "Currently in the UK there are to my knowledge only five or six active virus writers, including myself, and none of these ever release any harmful code into the public domain.
"Simple common sense will stop many, if not all, electronic forms of virus. But, as has become the norm, people tend to execute everything that arrives in their inbox. It's become a game of social engineering and not so much quality of code.
"Think of it this way: name a virus 'Virus.exe' and nobody will run it. Name the same code 'BritneyNude.exe' and half the fools who see it will dutifully download and run it."
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