Study Guide

Why write worms like Blaster?

  • There are always several reasons listed given as to why people write malware, but that hardly means that any of them are ethical. But who's responsibility is it that people are still writing malware?

    Some might say that it's the fault of parents and educators for not telling their kids that stealing and destroying, whether physically or digitally, is wrong. Another likely candidate, as that same article states, is that, "Users have only themselves to blame for launching viruses."

  • Research has given us a look into the typical breakdown of malware-writer demographics and their basic idealogies. Interestingly enough, according to this particular article the only group that was considered ethically abnormal were the adults.

The damage that was done

  • When considering the damage done by Blaster, there are several factors that need to be examined:
  • Damage done in terms of inconveniencing people and causing social disruption.
  • Time lost by companies not only due to interrupting normal production routines, but also in having the techs stop all of their current projects to fix infected computers.
  • Monetary damages associated with Blaster were estimated at $1.3 billion, not taking into consideration lost productivity.

Good worms?

  • One interesting by-product of the Blaster worm was a variant of it, the Nachi, or Welchia worm. This worm actually attempted to fix both computers affected by the Blaster worm as well as patch uninfected machines so that they wouldn't be affected by it. It would also remove itself once it discovered the date's year to be 2004.

    Though it never did anything explicitly malicious, it still caused havoc in infected computers' networks. It received the title of the "Good Worm", but can any malware, whether written with altruistic motivations or not, be considered good? The inherent system and network traffic demands from the malware's spread is going to be a negative effect either way, and can thus be seen as malicious.