17 June 2008

Crypto-virus, oh noes!

I keep seeing articles on this, and I've even commented on a couple, but I haven't actually mentioned it on here: I don't get the gpcode thing. I'm not exactly old; I'm certainly younger than the people writing these articles about the coming malware armageddon, but this is not exactly unprecedented. There was a virus in the 80s (I can't find the name anywhere now) that copied your FAT to RAM and wiped the main copy, then made you play a slot machine type game to try and win your files back. Sure, not extorting money out of you, but that's only because they lacked the highly networked computers of today necessary. This was 20 years ago, so I don't know why everyone is so shocked by this revolutionary virus. Forget the slot machine virus, I remember before malware was the cool thing to write when viruses actually deleted stuff. None of this encryption, "pay us and you can get everything back" nonsense, and certainly no attempts to be stealthy so they can live on your machine for years sending spam e-mails -- they deleted everything they could find as fast as possible and then laughed at you about it. Why is a virus that encrypts some of your files worse than a virus that deletes all of them?

On an amusing side-note, if you use openoffice instead of office, tar/gzip instead of winzip/winrar, and png files instead of jpgs (none of which are at all unreasonable, my Vista machine does all three), you're practically immune to this virus, it doesn't check for any of those extensions at all.

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