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Computer Viruses and Ethics: Virus Writing is Fine as Long as No One is Hurt

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Length: 4118 words (11.8 double-spaced pages)
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Computer Viruses and Ethics: Virus Writing is Fine as Long as No One is Hurt

On the 16th of February, 1995, the media across Australia was crowing the news, that the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) had to close down due to a computer virus infection. A computer virus is a malicious program which can alter, damage, or destroy files and computer memory and may attack and spread without its victim's knowledge. There are at least 8600 known viruses worldwide and new ones are being added at the rate of 200 a month. This story received front page notice in the newspapers, and a prominent place in the television news bulletin of every station. This virus that "Harry McBungus" created when he was a high school student, shut down the ATO national network for a full day, and anti-virus experts were still working on cleaning up the problems three days later. All 26 branches of ATO had to be isolated while the virus was finally tracked down to a branch in a Melbourne suburb.
Australian computer vandals are believed responsible for hundreds of viruses which have caused millions of dollars in damage worldwide. Australia is infamous for virus groups such as Viral Labs and Distribution (VLAD), Computer Virus Research and Information Service (CRIS is not based in Australia but many of its writers are), and Revelation among others. Millions of computers around the world are hit by viruses each year, in spite of out laying billions of dollars for anti-virus protection (italicized wor...


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...e written with code like this:
push bp
mov bp, sp
les bx, [bp+4]
mov cx, [bp+8]
mov ax, 0
A working virus would have hundreds of lines like this

Compiled Compiling changes the "words" seen in CODE to the ones and zero that a computer understands

Data The information on a computer. Files, directories, ect.

Hard drive The memory [storage] of a computer

Formatting Deletion of all data

Source code Same as CODE

Writing random sectors Overwriting random spots on the hard drive to resulting in corrupt files
Nottingham 11
Virus writer Since computer viruses are programs and not natural
devices like organic viruses they must be created. The virus writer creates them.

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