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by Richard Karsmakers

The world keeps on turning

There has been quite some news from the virus front lately; not
specifically from the viruses as such (though there are things
to be said), but more specific from virus killers. The German
company G-Data got into some heavy legal trouble because their
"Anti Viren Kit" was supposed to SPREAD viruses, and something
happened to my "Virus Destruction Utility" as well...
A full report on the G-Data proceedings can be found elsewhere
in this issue of ST NEWS; now for the "VDU" bit.

The Atari ST Virus Killer

In the beginning of June, I signed a contract with the CRL
Group in London. They were interested in marketing my virus
killer worldwide, and I indeed was interested in having them do
so. The name is now changed to "Atari ST Virus Killer" (AVK in
short), and the program has been a bit more optimized and
reprogrammed, and even censored to adapt it to a larger audience.
It is now a fully professional package that can thus only be
obtained in this version at CRL or through any of the retail
stores to which they have supplied it. Also, the program has been
compressed (45% off) and loads a lot faster now (decompressing
takes up less than a second).
The program is now sold at £9.95 - which I still find rather
cheap when compared with other programs that sometimes cost
almost £30 - and this increase of price is accounted for by the
packaging and the general marketing costs. I am told the thing
did 1500 copies in the first two months only - with 3000 standing
orders. So I guess the ST community will be very well supplied
with virus killers within a couple of more months. Also, they
were negotiating a 12,000 copy deal with someone (who will give
them away for free when buying a computer).
The program is getting rave reviews in the major press, too, so
I guess one could say everything goes smoothly.

Lots of things happened to the "Virus Destruction Utility" since
version 3.4. Now, version 3.9 is being sold as of August 31st. I
think the best way to check what has been done is to re-print
part of the manual appendix "History" here:

- Version 3.5GB (April 28th 1989)
The final small bugs/inconveniences have been removed. The check
for link-viruses has been completely reprogrammed and viciously
optimized so that checking of link-viruses is now 48.1% faster
with a Cache-program/FAT optimizer installed and 55.2% faster
without one of those installed. The "AVK" linkvirus checker is
now the fastest ever conceived on the ST: Each filecheck takes
approximately 0.057 seconds (this value was 0.111 seconds in
"AVK" v.3.4, and is 0.075 seconds in the fastest competing
viruskiller, STRIKE-a-LIGHT's "Virus Fixer", programmed in C!)...
The bootsector virus checker is also completely redesigned and
reprogrammed, and is now considerably faster as well. All this
reprogramming made sure that the program actually decreased in
size for the first time since its first creation...
Its main statistics: 204 recognized bootsectors, 20 recognized
bootsector viruses, 5 recognized linkviruses, 139 bootsectors
can be repaired.

- Version 3.6GB (May 28th 1989) - The first version CRL did!!
Code even more optimized, different title graphics, heavy anti-
virus facilities discarded. The main program is now also
compressed (the original code is 122,271 bytes in length).
Its main statistics: 223 recognized bootsectors, 24 recognized
bootsector viruses, 5 recognized linkviruses, 151 bootsectors can
be repaired.

- Version 3.7GB (June 1st 1989)
Just some minor code enhancements and increased statistics. The
problems with the software blitter "Turbo ST" in combination
with color monitor and the busted screen layout have been solved.
Again, the main code has been compressed.
Its main statistics: 227 recognized bootsectors, 26 recognized
bootsector viruses, 5 recognized linkviruses, 151 bootsectors can
be repaired.

- Version 3.8GB (June 14th 1989)
Again, the program code has been enhanced and optimized, whereas
the statistics have also again increased. The program now also
works excellently (well...better) together with TOS 1.4.
Decompressed program file length is over 135 Kb. Also, some
specific changes requested by CRL have been performed.
Its main statistics: 235 recognized bootsectors, 26 recognized
bootsector viruses, 5 recognized linkviruses, 157 bootsectors can
be repaired.

- Version 3.9GB (August 31st 1989)
General code and statistics enhancements. Decompressed program
length almost 136 Kb - 42% compressed off. An unsuspected
quantity of little bugs and inconveniences have disappeared.
Its main statistics: 265 recognized bootsectors, 27 recognized
bootsector viruses, 5 recognized linkviruses, 184 bootsectors can
be repaired.

As fate would have it, I would receive two more bootsector
viruses on September 3rd - when I already sent off the 3.9 copies
to CRL. During my visit to Norway, I got about 7 more bootsector
viruses, too.
Anyway. I guess there will thus be at least one more version,
which I indeed want to make the very LAST one (although I guess
this depends on circumstances) - version 4.0. This also sounds
pretty finalish, doesn't it?
Without wanting to stick peacock feathers up my own posterior, I
think the "AVK" in its present form can only be outdone by one
virus killer: And that would be "AVK" version 4.0. It will, by
the way, also be written and compiled using GfA 3.0.

Why statistics? - a short survey into the world of virus killers

People keep on asking me why other virus killers mostly never
mention the number of viruses they recognize - nor do they
mention the number of harmless bootsectors and stuff like that.
And, even more specifically, they keep on asking me why the
"Atari ST Virus Killer" does mention them.
Well, the answer is simple - though grotesquely immodest: I am
proud to say that my viruskiller has better statistics than any
of the others. Just look at the table below, which I have
compiled by using the latest versions of the given programs and
the most accurate quantities I could calculate.
These latest versions were: "Virus Fixer" version 1.02, "Anti
Viren Kit II" version 2.4, "VKill" version 1.2, "Sagrotan"
version 4.13, "Virentod" version 1.5 and "Atari ST Virus Killer"
version 3.9.

1 = Number of recognized bootsector viruses
2 = Number of recognized link viruses
3 = Number of innocent bootsectors that can be repaired
4 = Total number of recognized bootsectors
5 = Approximate price (Dutch guilders)
6 = Approximate price (English pounds)
7 = Approximate price (US Dollars)
8 = Approximate price (German Marks)
9 = Performance factors (1=best, 6=worst)
10 = Price/performance factor (1=best, 3=worst)
11 = Userfriendlyness (1=best, 6=worst)
- = Not applicable/not possible
? = Not known
+ = Equal or higher to quantity given

| 1|2| 3| 4 | 5| 6| 7| 8|9|10|11|
Virus Fixer (STRIKE-a-LIGHT)|15|3|112|127+| 50|14|25| 46|2| 2| 2|
Anti Viren Kit II (G-Data) |18|4| 43| 61+|109|30|55|100|4| 3| 4|
VKill (Public Domain) | 9|-| -| - | -| -| -| -|6| -| 1|
Sagrotan (Public Domain) |12|?| -| 89 | -| -| -| -|5| -| 6|
Virentod (Galactic) | 6|?|137|143 | ?| ?| ?| ?|3| -| 5|
Atari ST Virus Killer (CRL) |27|5|184|265 | 36|10|18| 33|1| 1| 3|

1) The ratings 9-11 are given as objectively as possible.
2) Rating 10 did not apply to Public Domain virus killers.

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.