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THE ST'S VIRUS - THE STORY IS BECOMING A DRAG...
by Richard Karsmakers

Evil is afoot...

Yeah...the story is becoming a drag, but unfortunately there
are ill tidings: There's a new link-virus known on the ST, which
now brings the total to FIVE link-viruses and a total of 23
viruses on the ST. I have not yet found out what the virus
actually does, but I fear that it will probably cause the system
to crash after a specified number of copies it made of itself.
The virus, which I dubbed 'Crash' virus, will install itself in
memory when a an infected program is loaded, and will then infect
all programs that are loaded afterwards. It is reset-proof, so
that it will only be removed by turning off your system.

Anyway, this virus will only be recognized by my "Virus
Destruction Utility" version 3.4, which is not yet ready (I just
finished 3.3, you know). But I will try to hasten it all a bit. I
think I will also have to revise the update structure a bit so
that I don't have to notify registered owners anymore (it's too
much work and the viruses get added so quick that I can't keep
up with it).

The latest rumours - which bring even worse tidings!

There are also rumours going around about a set of 200 (yeah -
twohundred) viruses existing somewhere in the united states.
They include some extremely nasty ones that can wreck the
mechanics of your hard drive and similar stuff. They were
programmed by a group of people that wanted to examine the power
of viruses, and the guy who succeeded in getting his hands on
them is James McHugh from the United States of America.
"Some of the viruses are really nasty", McHugh explained on the
phone, "they use an undocumented 'feature' that is present in all
hard disk controllers except for two. They simply overwrite some
controller data, after which your harddisk will remain working as
usual, but after about half an hour you will be forced to replace
the mechanics. They're busted."
I raised my eyebrows after hearing this. In the March issue of
"ST Magazin/68000'er" I already read something about viruses that
could destroy pieces of the ST's hardware, but this still sounded
very strange to me. I asked whether the SH204 and SH205 drives
happened to have those two controllers that were an exception to
that rule.
"I am afraid not," McHugh said, "in fact the SH204 and SH205
drives are some of the most vulnerable!"
That made me silent.
When I had regained some of my senses, I asked him whether it
was possible to send some of the viruses to me.
"No problem," he replied, "I was told by someone here that
you're a reliable guy so I will send them all. Do you have a
Supra 10 Mb cartridge harddisk?"
I answered affirmative.
"Well. Anyway, then I'll send them on disks. It's 12 disks
filled, and all viruses are fully documented with the Megamax C
assembler. The names and telephone numbers of the author of each
individual virus are contained in there, in case of them getting
lost or spread."
McHugh was currently busy sending these packages to everybody he
personally knew (or people he heard were reliable, like yours
truly) and who programmed virus killers. I told him he should
contact George Woodside in the U.S., which he stated he had
already done. I also told him that I would sent the stuff on to
Carsten Frischkorn and Henrik Alt, two good German virus killers.

Revenge of the mutant virus killer

McHugh told me his list of these people was now 117 addresses in
size, and I of course immediately asked him if a certain German
company was on that list (the one that ripped off my "VDU"
without my permission and that now sells a viruskiller at DM
100).
"No." he replied.
I told him that this company had ripped off my "VDU" and was now
selling it at five times my original price. He immediately joked
about sending them a special virus to wreck their harddisk, but I
laughed and said that I happen to have certain moral standards
and that I don't even wish my worst enemies to get their
harddisks wrecked. We spent a couple of minutes more talking
about things we could do with this company.
"Well then," he said, "then I will just not send them these
viruses, will I?"
I agreed, as you will understand (may I chuckle, Mr. Lüning?).
After about half an hour, in which we also swapped some info
about Atari's proceedings on the other side of the pond, we hung
up.
"I'll send the viruses this afternoon," McHugh said, "by DHL
mail."

Is rancour passable?

When I put down the horn I was thoroughly relieved. Finally, I
had a way to get even with the guys of the aforemeant German
company that ripped off my "VDU"!
Is rancour passable?
In this case, I think it is. Don't forget that they didn't ask
any permission and just used all my bootcode research in their
own virus killer! Carsten Frischkorn and Henrik Alt also rip all
the data from my virus killer to try and enhance theirs, but they
have had the decency to ask permission to do that. I also rip
data off their virus killer. If the company I now mean would have
done the same, there would not have been the least trouble.
Yes. Rancour is passable!

Anyway...let's get on with the usual 'commercial' chat

But, lucky to say, the "VDU" is now ready in a new version: 3.3.
Its main features are:

O There's a totally new virus-in-the-computer-recognition
algorithm
O Of course, many more viruses and innocent bootsectors are
recognized; many more of them can now also be rewritten
O A new disk immunization method has been developed, that now
also immunizes against most new bootsector viruses and the
known anti-viruses. File immunization against link-viruses is
also possible
O Unknown bootsectors (e.g. possible viruses) can now not only
be written to disk and sent to me, but also printed out on any
printer connected to your ST
O Over 35 help-screens are included, giving on-line help at any
time you may want it
O The manual has been completely re-written, and now also
includes a systematic description of all viruses and their
symptoms, and also some appendices
O Program marketing is now handled professionally in Holland.
O Scanning of a whole partition or disk drive is now possible
with the selection of ONE option
O All known bugs have been removed
O A 'system status screen' has been implemented, that displays
all system variables and shows 'suspicious' ones
O Higher compatibility assured with disk-cache programs (such as
"Turbodos") which in earlier versions took care of a system
crash
O New "Virus Probability Factor" algorithm (more reliable) for
unknown bootsectors that might be viruses

People outside Holland can order the program by sending a cheque
or International Money Order (or even cash) made payable to me
to:

Richard Karsmakers
I.B. Bakkerlaan 15-III
NL-3582 VB Utrecht
The Netherlands

Registered users outside Holland can order the program on the
same terms, but then only have to pay the amount of money
mentioned in the 'update price' column. People in Holland should
contact the Atari Computerclub Nederland in Haarlem.

TABLE OF PRICES FOR THE "VIRUS DESTRUCTION UTILITY" V3.0 AND UP

-----------------------------------------------------------------
Country: Purchase amount: Update amount:
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Netherlands ƒ 19.95 ƒ 10.--
United Kingdom £ 6.95 £ 4.--
United States of A. $ 11.95 $ 7.--
Belgium Bfr 395.-- Bfr 200.--
France Fr 64.95 Fr 30.--
Germany DM 18.95 DM 10.--
Italy L 13950.-- L 7000.--
Canada $ 13.95 $ 8.--
New Zealand $ 16.95 $ 9.--
Sweden Kr 64.95 Kr 35.--
Norway Kr 68.95 Kr 37.--
Greece D 14950.-- D 8000.--
Austria Sch 129.95 Sch 65.--
Switzerland Fr 14.95 Fr 8.--
Denmark Dkr 69.95 Dkr 35.--

Note: When using foreign cheques, add 50% to the purchase amount
or 75% to the update amount.

Disclaimer
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.