18.7.1. "What's the connection between Cypherpunks and viruses?" - Like, dewd, it's so kool. - Beavis 'n Butthead use PGP (actually, Eric Hughes proposed at one point that we suggest a crypto tie-in to the writers) - There's only peripheral connection. - Viruses can be spread with anonymous remailers, but digital signatures can be used to safeguard software. Signed software, no mods allowed. 18.7.2. "What about the "encryption viruses," like KOH?" - (A little far afield, but the issue does come up.) - Somebody asked about this on sci.crypt and Vesselin Bontchev said: "This topic has been debated to death in alt.security.pgp, when somebody posted KOH, without even a warning that it is a virus.....Both viruses indeed use the IDEA cipher - the same that is used both by SecureDevice and SecureDrive. However, the viruses pose some significant threats to the integrity of your data, exactly because of their viral replication means.....Also, if you aquire it by viral means, you do not get the doumentation and one utility, both of which are essential for the proper usage of the product - thus proving one more time that its viral capabilities are unnecessary and harmful. Also, the virus does not come in source, which means that it could have some hidden backdoors or simply security flaws, and you have no way to check this or to fix them. At last, in some cases the virus could destroy valuable information during its replication process." - "In short - don't use them. You will gain nothing over using stand-alone encryption programs, and you'll expose your data's integrity to significant risks. Those viruses are completely useless and even harmful; they have been created with the only reason to condone the illicit activities of the virus writers, by claiming that computer viruses can be "useful"." [Vesselin Bontchev, sci.crypt, 1994-08-31] 18.7.3. "What about viruses? Are there any ties to crypto and Cypherpunks themes?" - No direct link that any of us see clearly. Occasionally a virus fan sees the "punks" name and thinks we're involved in writing viruses. (Actually, a few folks on the list have virus expertise.) - Crypto may protect against viruses, by having code signed. And the reliance on self-responsibility and self-protection is in contrast to the legal approach, which tends not to work too well for virus protection (by the covert nature of many viruses). 18.7.4. "What interests do Cypherpunks have in viruses?" - Not much, though the topic comes up periodically. - Some overlap in the communities involved. - And there are some virus methods which use forms of encryption. - Also, digital signatures on code can be used to ensure that code has not been modified since being released by the original author.
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