I originally wrote this essay in May 1999.

(I put "experiment" in quotation marks, because the design and releaseor a computer virus or worm is a crime, a legitimate scientific experiment.)

Other examples of for writing or releasing malicious programs are contained in my essayon

The first computer virus for Microsoft DOS was apparently written in 1986and contains unencrypted text with the name, address, and telephonenumber of Brain Computer Services, a store in Lahore, Pakistan.

Experts in computer security, who are  attorneys,speak of

Don't bother piling up old computers. If the dark and sinister "Them" manage to cram borg chips into every new computer manufactured in the United States in 10 years, you'll still be able to buy machines made elsewhere without the borg chips, or you'll be able to do a quick search and find 1,000 different web pages with quick and easy instructions on how to bypass, disable, deactivate, or otherwise render said borg chip useless. Every copy protection scheme released fails within 24 hours of publication, I don't imagine this trend is going to cease. Sure, you may not be able to play the latest Desperate Housewives on your computer, but given your use case I don't imagine this is going to bother you much.


This document discusses what the USB system does and how it is done.

Things have changed a lot since then (e.g.

Generally speaking, I agree. Commercial software products (lacking anything resembling a real guarantee) come loaded with a corporate agenda that is absent from open source software.


These attachments come in two types known as Functions and Hubs.



My long discussion of a few famous malicious programs is in a separate, emphasizes thenonexistent or weak punishment of the authors of these programs.

Functions are the peripherals such as mice, printers, etc.

The judge declared: "Those who seek to wreak mindless havoc on one ofthe vital tools of our age cannot expect lenient treatment."

Pile's punishment was more severe than other criminalswho have written and released malicious programs.

Hubs and functions are collectively called devices.



The prosecutor claimed that one unnamed victim had suffered damagein the amount of a half a million pounds (approximately US$ 800,000)from Pile's viruses.

In this way, the computer criminal is acting analogous to a burglar.

A good idea, which I'm going to try to sell to my friends. However, its begs the question: what are the software that "respects your boundaries"? It'd be nice to have a short list of software (OS, browser, etc.) to point to when we rally people to boycott bad companies. And if we want people to consider that list seriously, software must be user-friendly enough to minimize the trauma of migrating to something new. I hope people will speak up about their favorite "boundary-respecting" software, but let's not let things degenerate into a "my software is better than yours!" screaming match.

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Other viruses and worms have been much more widespread, and caused much moredamage, but their authors have generally been able to avoid prison(e.g., and)or received a sentence not much longer than Pile's(e.g., the author of the virus spent 20 months in prison, despite having done at leasta hundred times more damage than Pile).