Who writes malware and why


Virus authors can be classified into the ‘cybervandals’ and ‘serious’ programmers. These two groups each have their own sub-groups.

Cybervandals

  1. Not so long ago, young programmers who wished to test their coding ability developed what is now known as malware. These programs did not achieve notoriety, as disk reformats and system upgrades effectively erased the malware within. There was not much rhyme or reason to these ‘exercises’ aside from the authors’ self-assertion.
  2. Another set of young authors (mostly students) make up the second ‘cybervandal’ sub-group. The aptitude of this group may not be far from that of the first, although the second group was generally more diligent, taking a stand and honing their skills in birthing viruses. They also wanted to make a more prominent mark by disrupting existing systems with their programs.

The Internet proved to be a fertile breeding and hunting ground for these writers. Web resources such as dedicated forums, websites, and chat rooms served to educate anyone who wished to learn about virus creation. One could gather tools for making and concealing malicious code and compare notes with more accomplished authors.

The Professionals

  1. Some writers from the previous group evolved, with their focus remaining on the creation of malicious code. They also wished to gain from the practice of their chosen craft. This group became an intricate, tangled Web of professionals with the vocation of writing viruses and unleashing them onto the public. With knowledge of system vulnerabilities and networks as catalysts, they made their creations survive and thrive.
  2. The last group of virus authors is the ‘researchers’. These talented programmers use their expertise to develop novel ways to infect computer systems. The malicious code of their working ‘viruses’ does not often go public.

In this case, malware creation may be good or bad. It is beneficial to identify loopholes in a particular system or program. It could also be detrimental if the viruses spread, uncontrolled, over the Internet.

Why Create Malware?

Viruses, as evinced in the previous example, may be beneficial or detrimental.

Authors may create viruses for purposes of fraud, by stealing passwords and various types of information to access otherwise secure resources. This may branch into cybercrime or cyber-extortion.

The propagation of bots over certain networks is another reason why writers make viruses. Infection of one computer in a network may subsequently affect all computers in the system. This may spread the code to other systems as well. Spammers typically employ viruses for this purpose.

Related article: Malicious programs descriptions

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