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Cruncher - The First Beneficial Virus?

Eugene Kaspersky
Viruis Bulletin, June 1993, pp. 8-9
ISSN 0956-9979
June 1993

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The first time I ever heard about the dispute over whether there could ever be such a thing as a useful virus was many years ago, when I was analysing the first virus I had ever seen. One of the articles which I read at the time was about the definition of a computer virus and the philosophical aspects of viruses. The article went on to discuss what the future might hold, and whether or not one could ever have a useful virus.

At the time, I was not ready to take a firm standing point on this issue - in fact, I’m still not ready to decide. For example, a well-written boot sector virus which looked for lost clusters could arguably be useful. Once you begin to consider the beneficial things a virus could do, the list is rather long. There is a multitude of small ‘housekeeping’ tasks which a virus could perform, all of which could be inserted into the virus’ algorithm.

I hope that this does not appear to be propaganda for the legitimacy of virus writing. Computer viruses bring immense problems with them, and seriously compromise the security of machines. However, life brings a lot of surprises, and to become fixed with one particular viewpoint is always a bad idea - one of these surprises was that the Earth is not flat, but round as a ball. In the 15th Century, who would have thought it!

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