Security Market Segment LS
Tuesday, 01 April 2014 15:35

All virus/malware is bad – except some notables


To mark a so far uneventful April fool’s day antivirus maker Kaspersky has released a list of so-called ‘benign malware’ – for your information.

“These examples of funny, innocuous, and even helpful viruses are of course very rare exceptions to the general rule, and are essentially tales from bygone days. Modern malware writers are no longer cyber pranksters or newbie hackers learning the ropes in a new sphere of activity. Today, practically 100% of viruses are written with just one goal in mind: stealing money or confidential data,” said Alexander Gostev, Chief Security Expert at Global Research & Analysis Team, Kaspersky Lab.

Creeper - The first known computer virus in history was a harmless specimen. It was called the Creeper, and it appeared in 1971, written by an employee at the US Ministry of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. This primitive worm looked for other computers on the network – which back then was a small, localised affair - copied itself to them, and displayed the following message: “I'M THE CREEPER: CATCH ME IF YOU CAN.” If Creeper found an existing copy of itself on a computer, it simply “jumped over” to another computer. It did not cause any harm to the computer system.

Stoned - Stoned was another “fun” virus whose main purpose was to promote a message to the user. It was first detected in 1988 in New Zealand. The original version of this virus landed on a computer system via the floppy disk drive, and, just like Creeper, did not cause any harm to the computer. It simply displayed the message on the screen: “Your computer is now stoned. Legalise Marijuana.”

Welchia- The Welchia virus also became famous for its good deeds. This was one of the most unusual worms in the history of cyber threats. Although its creators designed it to be malicious, Welchia did not in fact cause any harm. On the contrary, it helped to remove the dangerous Lovesan worm, also known as Blaster, from the system. By imitating the behavior of this malicious program, Welchia penetrated a computer using vulnerabilities in legal software. Then it checked if Blaster was present in the processor memory: if so, it stopped its operation and deleted the entire malicious file from the disk.

This was not the end of Welchia’s mercy mission: after eliminating the malware, the “benign” virus checked if there was an update in the system to patch the vulnerability through which the worm penetrated the system. If not, the virus initiated a download from the manufacturer’s site. Welchia then destroyed itself after completing all these operations.

Cruncher - The Cruncher virus also turned out to be absolutely benign. On the face of it, it was a regular resident file virus, and used an algorithm to compress data and pack the infected file, so the infected file was shorter than the original. This freed up room on the user’s hard drive. Moreover, it turned out that Cruncher used a compression algorithm from the then-popular utility DIET 1.10, so the user could use this absolutely legal program to unpack the files infected by the virus and regain access to the data, while still enjoying the extra space created on the hard drive.

Prank - The “prank virus” title is deservedly held by HPS, a program which was created specifically for the Windows 98 operating system but in fact spread months before this environment was released. One of the odd things about this virus was that it was only active on Saturdays - once a week it reversed non-compressed bitmap graphic objects. In other words, it mirrored the entire display on the monitor.

Subscribe to ITWIRE UPDATE Newsletter here


The much awaited iTWire Shop is now open to our readers.

Visit the iTWire Shop, a leading destination for stylish accessories, gear & gadgets, lifestyle products and everyday portable office essentials, drones, zoom lenses for smartphones, software and online training.

PLUS Big Brands include: Apple, Lenovo, LG, Samsung, Sennheiser and many more.

Products available for any country.

We hope you enjoy and find value in the much anticipated iTWire Shop.



iTWire TV offers a unique value to the Tech Sector by providing a range of video interviews, news, views and reviews, and also provides the opportunity for vendors to promote your company and your marketing messages.

We work with you to develop the message and conduct the interview or product review in a safe and collaborative way. Unlike other Tech YouTube channels, we create a story around your message and post that on the homepage of ITWire, linking to your message.

In addition, your interview post message can be displayed in up to 7 different post displays on our the site to drive traffic and readers to your video content and downloads. This can be a significant Lead Generation opportunity for your business.

We also provide 3 videos in one recording/sitting if you require so that you have a series of videos to promote to your customers. Your sales team can add your emails to sales collateral and to the footer of their sales and marketing emails.

See the latest in Tech News, Views, Interviews, Reviews, Product Promos and Events. Plus funny videos from our readers and customers.


Ray Shaw

joomla stats

Ray Shaw  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

Share News tips for the iTWire Journalists? Your tip will be anonymous




Guest Opinion

Guest Interviews

Guest Reviews

Guest Research

Guest Research & Case Studies

Channel News