Are Virus Protection Firms the Virus Coders !! 
Author Message
 Are Virus Protection Firms the Virus Coders !!

Don't generalise me just yet, I'm not a {*filter*} theorist - but i have an
interesting thought.

However for some time the thought of the motivations behind virus coders has
been on my mind, as you may gather from my previous post. The anti-virus
industry is a major player in the field as they constantly develop the
technology to protect from and remedy virus infections.  I'd imagine
companies such as McAffee and Norton are making 9 or 10 figure yearly sums
from the sale of their anti-virus programs. ( I recently heard that McAffee
especially was having record turnovers.  )However in order for them to bring
out new anti-virus technology, there must be a constant progression in the
technology of the viruses.  Is it possible that the same companies who
defeat these viruses are protecting their industry by insuring a constant
threat of viruses.  Could it be that sums of money are being paid to
promiscuous individuals, not connected with the Software companies in
anyway.  Is the Anti-Virus market an undisclosed computerised protection
racquet?

This possibility is not unthinkable, and of course if it were true, it
certainly would not account for all viruses in the field.  Am i just being
too imaginitive or do you think the chances of this could be real.

Regards

Luke



Tue, 21 Oct 2003 22:14:02 GMT  
 Are Virus Protection Firms the Virus Coders !!
    It *could* be the case, but personally I don't think the virus companies
really needs to hire people to make viruses as there are already enough
capable/willing people.  Giving the millions of people in the world today
who
can program, I would think a good percentage of them are capable of
writing a virus or learning how.  It's only a matter of statistics to find a
thousand of capable programmer who prefer to spend thier time subverting
other people's computers.

    Do a search for virus source code and I'm sure you'll find enough hacker
sites to keep you busy for days.  Take one kid who has some programming
knowledge and a lot of time and you have yourself a new virus.  Get on your
local IRC on you'll find that there are enough of these kids to go around.

    Actually, what boggles me is that virus coders haven't been as malicious
as they could be.  Most programmers could have written iloveyou, anna,
and the rest of the vbs viruses, and a good many more could have enhanced
these viruses to be much more malicious.

    Don't let me detour you from further examaning this theory.  Maybe
they're
not hiring people to write viruses, but intentionally catching some of these
viruses late to generate some fear helping to push IT shops to buy thier
products.

    You never know...

Steve

Quote:
> Don't generalise me just yet, I'm not a {*filter*} theorist - but i have
an
> interesting thought.

> However for some time the thought of the motivations behind virus coders
has
> been on my mind, as you may gather from my previous post. The anti-virus
> industry is a major player in the field as they constantly develop the
> technology to protect from and remedy virus infections.  I'd imagine
> companies such as McAffee and Norton are making 9 or 10 figure yearly sums
> from the sale of their anti-virus programs. ( I recently heard that
McAffee
> especially was having record turnovers.  )However in order for them to
bring
> out new anti-virus technology, there must be a constant progression in the
> technology of the viruses.  Is it possible that the same companies who
> defeat these viruses are protecting their industry by insuring a constant
> threat of viruses.  Could it be that sums of money are being paid to
> promiscuous individuals, not connected with the Software companies in
> anyway.  Is the Anti-Virus market an undisclosed computerised protection
> racquet?

> This possibility is not unthinkable, and of course if it were true, it
> certainly would not account for all viruses in the field.  Am i just being
> too imaginitive or do you think the chances of this could be real.

> Regards

> Luke



Tue, 21 Oct 2003 23:20:43 GMT  
 Are Virus Protection Firms the Virus Coders !!

Quote:
>  Is it possible that the same companies who
> defeat these viruses are protecting their industry by insuring a constant
> > threat of viruses.

I doubt it.

Most "antivirus" companies grew up, for example, doing data recovery work
(and many still do, amongst other things).

There is a large enough "security" need without them having to write new
virii.  Just take a look at the latest Microsoft Security Alert with IIS 5.



Tue, 21 Oct 2003 23:45:42 GMT  
 Are Virus Protection Firms the Virus Coders !!
Quote:
> There is a large enough "security" need without them having to write new
> virii.  Just take a look at the latest Microsoft Security Alert with IIS

5.

Yes, but an AntiVirus company can feed itself by introducing these new
viruses and then being the first to resolve the problem.  For one it makes
them look smarter, whilst in fact they are doing an easy job (in the respect
of their own viruses).  Some anti-virus companies are very quick off the
mark in resolving certain viruses and providing updates, whereas other
companies are quick off the mark with other viruses.  If all these companies
are operating with very skillful engineers in their research labs then one
would not expect a virus to be resolved by one company in one month, and
then 6 months later by another company.  I understand the fundamentals of
the complexity of their workload, but cannot see the adequacy in this.

In any case where a company is making profit from providing support we have
to examine the potential of that company being the provider of its own
necessity.

This is purely an idea, and i by no means accuse these companies or teams
from being involved in these activities.  I am just trying to read the views
of others who have a better clue than i do.

Luke



Quote:
> >  Is it possible that the same companies who
> > defeat these viruses are protecting their industry by insuring a
constant
> > > threat of viruses.

> I doubt it.

> Most "antivirus" companies grew up, for example, doing data recovery work
> (and many still do, amongst other things).



Wed, 22 Oct 2003 00:14:36 GMT  
 Are Virus Protection Firms the Virus Coders !!


Quote:
> Don't generalise me just yet, I'm not a {*filter*} theorist - but i have
an
> interesting thought.

> However for some time the thought of the motivations behind virus coders
has
> been on my mind, as you may gather from my previous post. The anti-virus
> industry is a major player in the field as they constantly develop the
> technology to protect from and remedy virus infections.  I'd imagine
> companies such as McAffee and Norton are making 9 or 10 figure yearly sums
> from the sale of their anti-virus programs. ( I recently heard that
McAffee
> especially was having record turnovers.  )However in order for them to
bring
> out new anti-virus technology, there must be a constant progression in the
> technology of the viruses.  Is it possible that the same companies who
> defeat these viruses are protecting their industry by insuring a constant
> threat of viruses.  Could it be that sums of money are being paid to
> promiscuous individuals, not connected with the Software companies in
> anyway.  Is the Anti-Virus market an undisclosed computerised protection
> racquet?

> This possibility is not unthinkable, and of course if it were true, it
> certainly would not account for all viruses in the field.  Am i just being
> too imaginitive or do you think the chances of this could be real.

This has been raised and rebutted no end of times already. And its still
daft.


Wed, 22 Oct 2003 00:54:47 GMT  
 Are Virus Protection Firms the Virus Coders !!

Quote:

> Don't generalise me just yet, I'm not a {*filter*} theorist - but i have an
> interesting thought.

Nope -- you've just repeated a very old, very stupid thought that
thousands before you have had and that was terribly wrong when it
was first promulgated and is still as wrong and misguided today...

Had you thought about your "interesting thought" for ten seconds, you
would have realized it was neither "interesting" nor "thoughtful".

Quote:
> However for some time the thought of the motivations behind virus coders has
> been on my mind, as you may gather from my previous post. The anti-virus
> industry is a major player in the field as they constantly develop the
> technology to protect from and remedy virus infections.  I'd imagine
> companies such as McAffee and Norton are making 9 or 10 figure yearly sums
> from the sale of their anti-virus programs. ( I recently heard that McAffee
> especially was having record turnovers.  )

McAfee (actually NAI) and Norton both make much more than just AV
software.  A couple of years ago one of the large IT market
research companies put the total value of the AV market, worldwide
at a little over one billion US dollars annually.

Quote:
> ...  However in order for them to bring
> out new anti-virus technology, there must be a constant progression in the
> technology of the viruses.  ...

False assumption.

New applications and OSes and other forms of change within the
computing "landscape" provide plenty of scope for technology
developments within and across the AV spectrum.  Further, competition
between vendors for each other's existing customers tends to
"reshape the envelope" as changes are made that attempt to better
match the products features to what the customers say they want.

What you refer to as "progression in the technology of the viruses"
is, now, a relatively minor input as a force driving change or
"progress" (as opposed to "detection updates") in AV products.

Quote:
> ...  Is it possible that the same companies who
> defeat these viruses are protecting their industry by insuring a constant
> threat of viruses.  ...

It is "possible", *theoretically*.

However, why would they bother?  The virus writers and users are
regularly producing 600-1000 new viruses and variants (mainly the
latter) per month.  Most AV developers are somewhat stretched to
keep up with that, so why would they need to "waste" any of their
hard-earned cash in funding a few more new viruses?

Quote:
> ...  Could it be that sums of money are being paid to
> promiscuous individuals, not connected with the Software companies in
> anyway.  ...

*Theoretically* that could be so, but think about my previous
observation -- still applies, eh?

And, think about this -- the major AV companies (and many of the
smaller ones too) actually work closely together, sharing samples of
new viruses they have isolated on a regular basis.  This primarily
benefits the *user* of AV s/w, as across the major AV developers, the
rate of detection improvement is scarcely a separating factor in
corporate purchasing decisions (and the corporate mrket is where AV
makes its money, even if it only sells the product for a buck or two
per seat per year).  Surely if the point of funding "virus
development", as you suggest, is to boost a developer, that developer
would not be so keen to participate in sample sharing activities
which arguably are to the detriment of their potential competitive
advantage (at least for the "larger" of AV developers).

Then, of course, you have to deal with the huge ethical issues your
suggestion would pose, were it actually the case the AV developers do
this.  You see, despite the image many of the AV marketroids give of
being ethically bereft, many of the key players on the technical side
of the industry are extremely aware of ethical issues. They would
scream blue {*filter*} if there was even the slighest hint of any
developer doing what you suggest and their PR and marketroid type
would then latch onto that and use the heavily negative labels
"unethical" and "virus writers" in their sales and PR material (not
to metion the huge media circus that would be generated around this).

Quote:
> ...  Is the Anti-Virus market an undisclosed computerised protection
> racquet?

Damn -- you've seen through the sham and the fact that every single
person from all the weird and diverse professional, technical and
cultural backgrounds who work in the AV sector are actually all
members of a secret society intent purely on collectively lining
their pockets with ill-gotten sales dollars...

Quote:
> This possibility is not unthinkable, and of course if it were true, it
> certainly would not account for all viruses in the field.  Am i just being
> too imaginitive or do you think the chances of this could be real.

I think you should wake up and small the coffee...

--
Nick FitzGerald



Mon, 27 Oct 2003 16:32:40 GMT  
 Are Virus Protection Firms the Virus Coders !!
Thanks Nick, for you poignant words...  Expect
me to plagiarize off of you.  :)

Steve



Tue, 28 Oct 2003 01:37:46 GMT  
 Are Virus Protection Firms the Virus Coders !!

Quote:
>This possibility is not unthinkable, and of course if it were true, it
>certainly would not account for all viruses in the field.  Am i just being
>too imaginitive or do you think the chances of this could be real.

You're not far off.  It's actually the anti-virus folks who are being
controlled, haven't you noticed the black helicopters that hover
around you a day or two before you get hit by a virus?  And when you
download the "fix" your system is covertly linked to a vast hive of
controlling pods, each in geosynchronous orbit just inside the orbit
of the G4 and G5 television sattelites...

Jeff



Tue, 28 Oct 2003 02:46:53 GMT  
 
 [ 8 post ] 

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