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Interview with Trigger

Slam
Slam [4]
May 1998

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Hi Trigger, let me first give you an opportunity to introduce yourself to those who don't know you.

Hi, I'm Trigger, born somewhere in the seventies and resident in The Netherlands.

Why 'Trigger' ? Does it mean something?

Errm.. At some time I wanted a new handle, and I wanted it to sound kinda dangerous. I read in some virus article the verb 'to trigger', and I decided I'd use that as a handle, regarding the parallel with the 'trigger' of a gun, which can be kinda dangerous. :)

What was your first computer related experience?

When I was 8 or something, my dad got us an Atari 2600. I was hooked. After that, we got some kind of Sharp homecomputer (MZ-800), which had BASIC, but (even then) that couldn't really get my attention.

What was your first virus related experience?

After the Sharp homecomputer we got ourselves an 8 MHz XT, and of course, we used tons of pirated software. (TestDrive, Larry 1, ahh the good old days :)) Then, one day, I was scanning my 20 Mb HDD, and McAfee found Yankee Doodle. McAfee cleaned it up, so no big deal.

When did you start out messing around with viruses?

About 5 or 6 years ago, I bought a modem (fascinated by the movie Wargames), and got involved in the BBS-scene. First I did some warez, then I did some phreaking, and then BBSes had to make place for the Internet. At the time, I really liked the idea of a world-wide but small scene, which I recognized in the virus scene. I had always been a bit interested in those viruses, so I decided to become a virus writer. I downloaded all 40Hex and VLAD magz, and started reading my ass off.

What have you done for the virus scene?

Nothing much so far, really. :) I decided I didn't want to bring out stuff that was already done by zillions of other people. I've been more busy educating myself than trying to finish something with which I could contribute to the scene in some sort of way. But when I was starting out with polymorphism, I couldn't find any really clear articles on how to write such a thing. Et voila, that would be my first contribution, an idiot's guide to writing polymorphic engines, which is included in this issue of SLAM (#4). Currently, I'm really busy with the rest of my life, but one day I'll finish my MadCow Virus, which is an OldExe infector, with all neat (standard) DOS techniques.

What do you do in Real Life?

Nothing much, really. :) No just kidding, I'm in my final year of school now, and I'm busy with my own company; I design promotional stuff, like flyers for parties, but also campaigns for political parties and stuff. I also have quite a busy social life, and most of my friends don't know shits about computers. I find both quite hard to combine, and most of the time, I choose social life before my computer, which I think is a healthy choice. :)

How have viruses affected your real life?

Apart from valuable time they consume, very little. People around me who do know something about computers are already happy with knowing what dir/w means, so I can't really 'share' my interests in viruses. Their loss :)

What is your opinion on virus generators?

I have never taken a serious look at any of them, but I think it's clear that the challenge is to write one, not to use one.

What about polymorphic engines?

Almost the same answer. Using an existing engine is addmittedly a bit harder than using a virus generator, but it's still lazy and moreover quite stupid. It's far more efficient to write your own engine. Once you know how to do it, it's really simple. Read my tute! :)

What is your favourite virus/virus generator/polymorphic engine?

I think Natas by Priest is my personal favourite virus. For the vir generators, I never took a serious look at any of them, and for the poly engines, I think TPE, considering the time it came out.

How do you feel about the virus scene?

I wish I was involved in the P/S, TridenT and VLAD days, but looking back always makes the past look better. 29A have released a fine second issue, which is, in my opinion (and especially in theirs :)) important for the scene as it 'exits the old-skool, into the new'.

What is your opinion on the AV community?

Well, unfortunately, I hardly have time to keep up with the VX community, so keeping up with AV (the information they spread, not their techniques) is too much for me. However, things in the VX community are changing at the moment (dos/win32), and I think this can also be noticed in the AV scene.

What is your favourite AV product?

I actually don't really use any, except for VX purposes. To decide which is the best, I'd have to say that best is to use a couple of them next to eachother for the best results.

Do you believe in 'the perfect virus' and if so, describe it.

Yes.

A perfect virus would be familiar with all platforms and OSes, and would adapt to any new platform/OS it encounters. It would change not only it's exterior (it's actual code) but also it's interior (not only structure, but also targets, techniques, etc.) on every infection. It would make itself run on any computer it comes across, and it would find ways to spread itself by making use of all equipment connected to the computer. Eventually, the author of the virus realizes he should have built in some social and moral values, which would prevent the virus from using sick spreading techniques like brainwashing people through their SoundBlasters, but alas, it's too late. The virus doesn't have an off-switch, so inevitably it continues gaining power until it takes over the world. When it has, it will create its own intelligent breed, exterminating the inferior mankind.

This was just -a- perfect virus. :)

-The- perfect virus would learn itself (or would have been taught) some moral and social values, would realize the uselessness of its existence, and would eventually commit suicide, hoping all other derivatives come to the same insight.

How do you feel about destructive viruses?

It's changing now, but back in the DOS-only days, viruses had to be as small as possible, operating at a level as low as possible. With these two together it's almost inevitable that bugs are introduced, which (at such a low level) can cause the most disastrous crashes. I believe a large part of the 'destruction' is done by such bugs and incompatibilities. But to answer your question, I think intentional destruction is stupid, as it delays or even stops the spreading process. Furthermore, it gives virus authors a bad name.

What is/was in your opinion the best virus group?

Phalcon/Skism and VLAD did some great stuff, and currently 29A is becoming the world-leading virus group.

What about SLAM?

SLAM has talented coders too (wide smile), but we're not the 'best' group around. Yet. :)

Is there anything you would like to say?

Yep, there's an ancient Dutch saying (okay not ancient, but pretty old), which in my opinion says it all to some virus writers.

"Men souwt de bloemckool niet nuttigen eer hij chaar is"

What does it mean?

That is left as an exercise to the reader :)

Any greets?

Everyone I know: hi :)

Thanks for this interview. See ya

Sure.. Laterz..

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