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The urge of creation

Xine [5]
March 2001

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I just read AVP's description about who writes computer viruses, and I got pissed of. I don't like the way he's smearing the virus coders. I mean not all of us are mentaly sick and weak individuals who needs virus writing because of inferior complexes! It's much more complex then that tihi :) and that's what this article is about. It hasn't anything to do with virus coding, but in a sense it's all about virus coding. What is the universal affinity for all virus coders? I can't say that I know for sure but I think I have a clue about the mental state that drives people to code virus, and for sure it has nothing to do with mental sickness (unless you consider thinking viral thoughts to be defined as sick). With my "not-so-flaw-less" english and this abstract topic this could turn into a real mess, but I hope you will follow some how. As there have been a numerous amount of diffrent articles covering stereotypes of virus coders I won't fall into this category (I'm the master of korny comments :) ).

This article will go deeper into the essence of a virus coder and analyze the actual urge of coding, "creating" viruses. For me it started when I was about five years old. I was about to go to bed and I had seen this disney movie or something similiar on TV with a dragon, and I asked mom - "Does dragons exist or have existed?", As my mother thought it important that I was well educated in all areas she explained that once dinosaurs had walked this earth and they were very much like dragons except they couldn't breathe fire. I was extremly facinated about this and my first steps of creativity took place. I wanted to know more about the dinosaurs, I went to the bookbus (a bus that arrived once a week with books from the local library) and borrowed books about dinosaurs. I watchted the pictures and asked mom to read it aloud for me. I also speculated about who would win in a fight between a T-rex and a great white-shark. I guess all boys goes through something similar in their maturing process. But it didn't stop here for me, I wanted to draw dinosaurs and create dinosaurs in clay. Eventually I became more and more facinated by nature as whole and mostly facinated by ants. What caught my interest was the "feeling" around ants. The complexity in the nest and the fact that they worked together almost like us humans. Ants and other colony founding organisms are in my opinion today the second or maybe the most sophisticated lifeform around. I have always been and am interested in artificial intelligence and artificial life. So why shouldn't I be interested in computer viruses? I code viruses because I got a burning interest in it. It's not just a hobby, it's my creativity urging me to code... And those AV people calling themselves computer virus experts, if they share the same sort of interest as me how many times haven't they been tempted to code viruses themselves? Or is it only the money that keeps them in the bussiness? If you're interested in one thing, what is it that keeps you from not practising it? A moral barrier? When you think of it, what is a computer virus? A series of binary values attached to other binary values inside a magnetic disk used inside a computer, a metal box used for calculation. This is NOT what computer viruses are for me! A metaphor could simplify it... Assume you're an artist.. you form sculptures in stone.. Imagine you're a big fan of lenin, and you make a sculpture of lenin. This take quite some time and you have put all your creative energy into this project and you even found out a new method of easily forming the perfect eyes! After spending so much time with sculpture you want to see how people react to your sculpture. It's not enough that you have it at home you want to participate in an exhibition to show the artist what you have done. Sometimes this isn't enough eighter you want to place your creation in some park and see how the public react to it. The thing is where you live people are anti-communists so the public will dislike your action, the question is does this stop you? Or what if you write some poems or paint a picture wouldn't you like to show some other artists your work, or maybe the public?

Well this is pretty stupid example anyway... Lets put it this way, as virus coders also are humans (what ever you say) our needs can be applied to the Maslow tree/stairs theory. This is psychology btw if you didn't follow... Abraham Maslow is known for establishing the theory of a hierarchy of needs, writing that human beings are motivated by unsatisfied needs, and that certain lower needs need to be satisfied before higher needs can be satisfied. Maslow studied exemplary people such as Albert Einstein, Jane Addams, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Frederick Douglas rather than mentally ill or neurotic people.

The first need in that has to be fullfilled is basic essential needs associated with your physical well being. Such as hunger, thirst well you know what I mean. Then comes the need for feeling secure and to be able to predict the near future. Next is the need for contact with other people, and the need of feeling wanted and accepted. To pass to another level of needs the previous once have to be fullfilled some what. I mean if you're starving to death and guerilla is raiding your "home" raping your mother and sister and all your brothers are blown into pieces you won't care about being accepted by the people around you? This is the state most people in at least the western world arrives too. They have fullfilled the most dire needs and feel accepted by the society. Next is esteem, there are two types of esteem needs. First is self-esteem which results from competence or mastery of a task. Second, there's the attention and recognition that comes from others. This is similar to the belongingness level, however, wanting admiration has to do with the need for power. So this is human, to code viruses you have to learn assembler and in a sense virus coding covers completely both needs. First of all it gives you satisfaction as you feel competent in this area and you get attention from other virus coders and sometimes even the media (if you spread viruses). To spread a virus is pretty drastic but people strife towards satisfying their needs. Also coding viruses gives a sense of "power" as you have to outsmart antivirus software and the user. Also you have to be pretty clever to figure out new technics and bypass obstacles you surely will meet on the way. The last stage could be divided into two parts, first a meaningful activity. Here virus coding comes into play. VIRUS CODING is meaningful!!? some hypocrates ;) might say. Well it's meaninful to the individual but not to the society. Well just coding viruses doesn't harm anyone on the contrary of the code is sent to AV people it can help making the digital bussiness more secure (speeding evolution). And if it's not spread it hurt no one. Publising it in an ezine could be consider unethical but still this is a meaningful activity for the individual coding viruses. To the hypocrates/critics, Do you always think of what is best for the society? and what consequences/impact you actions might have on society? Ok lets check, do you own a car? do you own a computer? Of course you do, else you wouldn't be reading this else if you printed the whole zine on paper got damn you're irresponsible. Do you have any MP3s or licensed programs without paying for it? Have you ever broken a copyright law? I mean we make actions that are unethical all the time, so why climb that pedistal and bash at us because it makes you feel superior? Btw who has a inferiour complex? At least we admit we're human! Also the last step/stage in the maslow theory is self-actualization. The need for self-actualization is "the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming." People who have everything can maximize their potential. They can seek knowledge, peace, esthetic experiences, self-fulfillment, oneness with God, etc So if you have aims of becoming a software programer or an artificial intelligent researcher take a degree in computer engineering virus coding could be a step towards self-fulfilment/self-actualization as a programer/computer wiz :)

But of course not all virus coders might be "perfect" and in complete psychological balance. Maslows Hierachy needs covers this also. Violence and other evils occur when human needs are thwarted. In other words, people who are deprived of lower needs such as safety may defend themselves by violent means. He did not believe that humans are violent because they enjoy violence. Or that they lie, cheat, and steal because they enjoy doing it. So basicly some people might code viruses because they are rejected by society or have problems at home or something... I don't mean that coding viruses are evil, but such persons might believe so and may even code destructive paylods in viruses to "strike back on society". So everything has it's explanation, and virus coders are not satan/demons incarnated. Diffrent needs drive people to create. A lot of artists were picked on at school and some of our finest poets were very lonely... but there are also perfectly "sane" people who write poetry, draws or code viruses... So basicly thwarted needs doesn't nessecary make you evil, not all artists are evil and not all of them have thwarted needs. Peoples needs and psychology are very complex. Well anyway I hope you see the pattern... This is what I believe and I can't say that is is the truth, but it's what I think is the truth.

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