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Aristotle: "It's a giant pissing contest!" he sez of Vx/A-V

George Smith
CryptNews [13]
February 1993

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"It's a giant pissing contest and the only guy getting hurt is John Q. Public!" quoth Aristotle in a recent interview concerning his decision to drop out as the dean of virus exchange BBS'ing.

"As far as the anti-virus people go, 60% of the files on virus exchanges are 'goat files.' ["Goats" are the small host programs, usually bearing the identifier of an anti-virus developer, which researchers infect with a virus they wish to examine.] Now, you want to crash virus exchanges, make my collection illegal. Well, you tell me how I got all these 'goats!'

"Everybody's talking shit," Aristotle continued, explaining that security people and anti-virus developers have agents on every virus exchange. The sysops think their systems are hard to penetrate, Aristotle claims, but the reality is just the opposite. The anti-virus developers get the newest viruses direct from the source, use them to fuel their advertising campaigns and trade viruses from their collections in return for continued access. All the while, Aristotle says, there's little chance any of the new viruses will actually end up in the wild.

"There's complete distrust, everyone in the [groups] is scared to death of each other." Aristotle went on to explain a recent tiff with members of Phalcon/SKISM stemming from Kim Clancy's late night conference [see above] which had been monitored by the Secret Service. Aristotle was party to the alliance call, too, and was painted as the "man on the inside," a Secret Service informer. Untrue, Aristotle says, completely untrue.

Aristotle is best known for his drive to sell viruses and source code in bulk, the entirety of "The Black Axis BBS" collection. There have been 40 takers, so far, Aristotle says. And they're not kids. "You think a kid has the money?" he asked. "Who do you think does? Haha."

The virus sales paid for a course in computer information system management at William & Mary University, he said. "My research was on viruses and the underground. I got an A."

Aristotle also maintained the VxNet, linking a number of virus exchanges and quasi-virus exchanges globally. The Crypt Newsletter asked him what would become of it.

"You want it?" he said with a laugh.

While The Black Axis is gone, Aristotle has replaced it with the Virginia Institute of Virus Research in Newport News. No more handles, either, said John Buchanan.

"My object was to bring all this out into the open. I got the virus programmers to start arguing with the security people on the FidoNet," Buchanan concluded. "I did that."

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