Dark Avenger virusses

“Dark Avenger quickly achieved notoriety in the Bulgarian computer-virus community. No one knew his identity or anything about him, adding to his mystique. According to David Stang, the research director at the International Virus Research Center, “His work is elegant … he helps younger programmers. He’s a superhero to many of them.”

Excitement, therefore, erupted when he joined the Virus Exchange in November 1990. Pierre, a French virus writer, wrote: “Hi, Dark Avenger! Where have you learned programming? And what does ‘Eddie lives’ mean?” Another hacker named Free Rider welcomed Dark Avenger with praise: “Hi, brilliant virus writer.” …

… The virus that Dark Avenger wrote was ensconced within another piece of malware that he also built. This program was a “polymorphic virus engine”, a tool for creating mutated viruses that threatened to vanquish all antivirus software. When viruses emerged from Dark Avenger’s mutation engine, their altered genome was unrecognisable by the existing detectors. Even worse, it was an off-the-shelf program that anyone with a virus could use. It was small, a little over 2,000 bytes, and no one needed to understand how it worked. A beginner could use it to create undetectable, self-reproducing malware.”