THE ST'S VIRUS - THE SAGA CONTINUES by Richard Karsmakers
Since the first virus appeared on the ST, many things have
happened. At first, there was pure panic. What could the virus
do? Could it destroy one's disks? After the first virus article
appeared in ST NEWS, most Dutch magazines started writing
articles about this fenomenon as well. A very thorough article
appeared in February's "Personal Computer Magazine", written by
Wim Nottroth and Fransisco van Jole. I am afraid I have to tell
that this was the only good article that further appeared,
because other magazines often told some pure nonsense when the
virus was concerned. From a mixture of articles, I have hereby
included some of the weirdest statements:
- The virus is made by a cracker's group called "B.O.S.S.".
- Even crackers don't have such absurd a mentality! They would
suffer from it the first, wouldn't they?
- The 'key' to the virus will be spread on the cracked version
(by "B.O.S.S.") of U.S. Gold's "Outrun".
- ?!?! "Outrun" is not even launched!
- The virus is mostly present on disks containing cracked games.
- NO! In fact, it is mostly present on work-disks, that are not
- Frank Lemmen is a member of "Strike-a-Light".
- He's NOT! Due to various reasons, most people now think that
"STRIKE-a-LIGHT" made the virus killer. In fact, they only
gave two PEEK addresses - no more! Frank did the first one,
and he's a member of the ACC!
- People that never copy illegal software are safe.
- Nonsense. And I can barely hold my fists from not smashing
into some of these people's skulls if they say they are safe
The mentioned statements are only a few that I thought to be so
utterly ridiculous that I just had to quote them. And then
there's one more thing: Nobody seems to remember (or, at least,
nobody takes the trouble of remembering) who initially discovered
the virus in Holland and who wrote the first virus killer. It's
quite reasonable to give honour to those who deserve it, don't
But that's enough. It's time to tell you something more that has
to do with the virus itself. One of the first rumours that came
along with it was the fact that it was possible to write on
write-protected disks. Some people have conducted some research
in this matter and believe that is ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE TO WRITE
ON A WRITE PROTECTED DISK. Firstly, Mr. Wilfred Kilwinger did
some experimenting (thereby probably destroying the print of an
ST) by which he did something so that the computer thought a disk
was not write-protected while the disk was actually write-
protected. It turned out that the system disn't recognize it and
happily started formatting a disk. Everything went right, but
when a directory was loaded the old information was found again.
"The internal disk drive logic makes it thus impossible to write
on a write-protected disk!", was Mr. Kilwinger's conclusion. Mr.
Kilwinger being one of the leading people at Atari Benelux, I
suppose his statements have significant value.
Secondly, I had Mr. Claus Brod (probably THE disk drive expert,
residing in Germany) do some checking. He also came up with the
same conclusion Mr. Kilwinger got, but he had to add a 'BUT':
"There may be a slight chance when you have two disk drives
attached to your ST. One of the disks has to be write-protected
and one NOT write-protected. It is then possible to fool the
controller by changing drive while writing. Data on BOTH disks
will then be damaged. This can, however, only happen with NEC
FD1036A or EPSON SMD or similar drives."
So that rumour has no reason of existing anymore. I must have
been wrong (together with Frank) to suppose that we had formatted
a write-protected disk once, long ago. I have contacted the
author of that formatting program, Mathias Kerkhoff, and he would
send it to me anew. I have still not received it, but I don't
think the results will be alarming.
There have still not been any new boot sector viruses on the ST,
probably because everybody knows that they will suffer themselves
when they design one - be it sooner or later. I have found an
article in 1987's Heft 4 of the German magazine "C't", however,
that was very interesting. The working of viruses is not only
explained, but the author (Eckhard Krabel) also supplies a link-
virus (one that doesn't occupy the bootsector but that links
itself to .PRG files). His virus zeroes the FAT from your disk if
your system date happens to be set to a date in 1987 if the
virus is being activated. Zeroing the FAT means that ALL your
files on that disk are LOST BEYOND REPAIR!!!! A source is
included so that similar people of mental instability can make it
even worse, or can make it so that it is activated on a different
date or evene through something enirely different. Eckhard also
supplies an 'Antibiotikum' that can cure infected programs, but I
still think Mr. Krabel has a loathsome mentality: Who supplies
people with guns to shoot their fellow humans only to be able to
demonstrate how nice his bandages work? I can hardly suppress the
urge to start using foul language, and I sincerely hope that
Krabel will die of some awful decease. The bastard. I personally
hate the idea that people like him breathe the same air that
normal people have to pass through their lungs.
My current virus killer (an update of which is included in this
issue of ST NEWS) cannot annihilate Krabel's "Milzbrand", but I
will make sure that an update can. This will probably be
published in ST NEWS Volume 3 Issue 2.
That was about all there is to say with regard to the virus on
the ST. I will keep you posted on everything new there is to know
with regard to this awful thing in next issues of ST NEWS.
Don't you yet know what the virus is all about? Please read ST
NEWS Volume 2 Issue 8 in that case, in which I have explained all
there is to know about it, and also some personal opinions (the
artiles are "Editorial" and "The ST's Virus").
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.