Understanding the motives of malicious coders

Wednesday, 22 May 2002, 11:39 AM EST

Over the years I have seen many people offer opinions on why virus writers do what they do. While I accept that many of these people have indeed spoken to a small number of malware authors, it has become all too apparent that much of their text has been based on opinion and not fact. In this article, I will draw upon my own experiences as a virus writer and as a member of the virus (and anti-virus) community to explore some of the reasons that people would devote their time to developing viruses.

As I mentioned, I have some experience as a virus writer, so before I start discussing the motivation of other virus writers, I should explain my own. My reasons are quite simple: boredom and a wish to see what can and cannot be done to and with an operating system. Now that operating system is on a personal computer at present but things are changing rapidly, soon many household appliances will have the ability to connect to the Internet and run executable code. This has the potential to offer new vectors of infection and new degrees of damage.

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