Chris Long's Column: Viruses I've known and loved

Self confessed womaniser, Mr Long imagines a world where viruses behaved like old lovers...

I'm feeling a bit left out here, I'm the only person -- it seems -- that hasn't written a virus and named it after a female they know. I don't know what it is that drives these people to write a virus but I'm fully expecting to see a whole raft of new virus' headed up by the 'Mother virus' which makes the PC proclaim loudly that the user should get a hair cut, clean their teeth regularly, get out more and meet a nice girl.

This Melissa virus is a strange piece of work though. Like if you wanted to really be known as an ace hacker cum virus writer would you choose to only affect Microsoft Outlook and Exchange and make the virus send 50 emails? Hardly going to bring down governments and make your name as a by word for Internet terrorism.

As far as I can see this virus is about as dangerous as tying someone's shoelaces together while they're asleep. That is. Pretty irritating until you know your shoelaces are tied up and then er, that's it.

I do quite like the idea of writing a virus to celebrate the disaster of a relationship. I could think of a couple of viruses that I would like to write. There would be the 'quiet boring virus' that just sits there and does nothing apart from smiling and nodding at the user and the PC. Despite it enjoying running cooking programs and being a terribly nice virus it would make the PC and user want to throw themselves under a bus just for something to do.

Then there would be the argumentative virus where once infected your PC would disagree with everything you type into it. "No it wouldn't" (see what I mean). Life would continue as normal but every time you clicked on an icon the virus would kick in and ask you if you really wanted to do that, and when you said yes, it would start shouting at you. The computer would then start emailing other computers to complain about you and then (by some highly sophisticated software) start slamming doors around your house. This virus would be fun for about 30 seconds and then you would want to throw the computer under a bus just to shut it up.

There are more relationship viruses but maybe I should just stop there before the writs come flying in (although if you have your own ideas for relationship viruses do send them in to me -- I could do with a laugh. There is a lot in this virus stuff though, I mean if you had any things you wanted to work out, well, write a virus for it. Like say the tax man virus (and before we go any further can I remind any tax men -- women too -- reading this is just fun and I really, really don't want to be investigated thank you) where 25 percent of your PCs resources go to running other peoples PCs.

And say the nosy neighbour virus where the PC suddenly boots up at 2 am and starts playing BoneyM tracks at full volume -- this will probably mutate into other forms. The Vacuuming virus where instead of playing crap 70's pop songs it makes noises like a vacuum cleaner -- and there will be the Row virus where at any time the PC will start shouting at anyone in particular. This will be quite close to the ex-girlfriend virus that we talked about at the beginning.

But then the whole thing could well get out of control, people will start writing viruses to combat the viruses that we have stuck on them (everyone except the tax man -- and women -- because they are far too nice to do such things).

The viruses will be battling it out on our PCs, and we won't be able to get any work done. We'll be forced to buy separate machines to run the viruses while getting on with the work we should have done when we were writing the viruses in the first place (are you following all this).

But at least we will have the pleasure of getting our own back on the people that have messed us about in the past. Alas the downside is receiving the virus from someone we have upset, which reminds me, which one of you did the 'irritating columnist' virus?

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