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Were there any viruses for Atari?

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I'm asking out of curiosity. And also, opposite to modern viruses, 80s and early 90s viruses were... kinda cool.

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For the ST, yes, quite a number.

The one I liked was "ghost". It basically replicated on boot sectors of floppies and changed the axis for the mouse (up go down, left go right, etc.)

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Might not classify as a virus, but there was a program in one of the Antic or Analog magazines to turn your Atari into a doorstop? I forget which month's edition it was in too. :)

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Seriously?

 

Or a C64 Emulator ;)

 

I don't remember a virus on the 8bit ever, lots of joke stuff like the spoof Atari DOS that pretended it was formatting itself and did all weird bits...

 

Liked that...Gave it to a couple of mates as a new DOS that was out......Yes, I got some dirty words down my phone line afterwards :)

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An interesting question. This would not have been practical on the 8-bits. I mean, yes, you could have shoehorned some code in a DLI or a VBI, but given how (pun coming...) NOISY SIO I/O can be, and the fact that you'd hear the disk drive go brrt brrt a few too many times, you'd probably know something is up...

 

however,

 

it would be an interesting programming exercise. drop a virus into the DOS 2 FMS, and see if you can replicate it across disks.

 

-Thom

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I remember I acquired a piece of software that was supposed to circumvent and remove copy protection on protected floppies. I was trying to make a backup (yes, backup) of my brand spanking new copy of World Karate Championship. I didn’t have much money to buy games so when I did, I wanted to make sure they were safe… anyhow, I ran this proggie and after the source step it flashes something on the screen about “Don’t Pirate software” and was actually erasing the disk.

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In the Atari Explorer (Sept/Oct 1988 issue), there was an article named "Unlocking the secrets of computer viruses".

There are no specific points telling that there is a virus for the Atari 8-bit, but in general, it says about A virus, that attaches itself to application programs and it was reported in the Portland Atari Connection newsletter.

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An interesting question. This would not have been practical on the 8-bits. I mean, yes, you could have shoehorned some code in a DLI or a VBI, but given how (pun coming...) NOISY SIO I/O can be, and the fact that you'd hear the disk drive go brrt brrt a few too many times, you'd probably know something is up...

 

however,

 

it would be an interesting programming exercise. drop a virus into the DOS 2 FMS, and see if you can replicate it across disks.

 

-Thom

Better not give ideas ;) ...

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We already have software which propagates from one disk to another and turns the A8 into a useless brick: MyDOS. :D

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Yeah, sorry - it was a bit near the knuckle. But I don't think DOS 3 propagates anywhere at all so it didn't work for me. :)

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Well,

 

in the magazine "Tajemnicze Atari" (issue 10/1992) they not only described how a virus works but also released a simple virus for the A8. This virus could be appended to a ML file and when executed, it deleted the boot-sectors of a diskette. Not a big problem if the disk was a DOS disk, one can simply write a new DOS. But if the destroyed boot-sectors were a commercial disk... ouch! Afaik, the virus could not copy itself nor did it have any routines to append itself automatically to other ML files, etc. - So when you loaded a ML program which contained this virus by mistake and it deleted your boot-sectors, all you have to do then, is to delete this ML program - and voila, the virus is gone (and you have just one damaged disk).

 

Jiri Bernasek / Bewesoft must have read that article and for exactly this kind of A8 virus he wrote his Virus-Scanner 1.0. TA later also released a Virus-Killer to get rid of this virus, e.g. here:

 

http://tajemnice.ata...iruskiller.html

 

[And then there was the april fools program Paperweight... funny, giving heart-attacks to some folks, but luckily not a virus (just a reset-proof program that shows tv-snow)...]

 

I have my A8 since 1984 and never had a virus on it. Hopefully the virus program from TA will never be spread and thus I never have to use the Virus-Scanner or Virus-Killer program on my Atari...

 

-Andreas Koch.

 

P.S.: In my eyes any program that includes a format-routine without query is the best virus for the A8, there are a few A8 demos and tools out there which activate a format routine without query when a certain key is pressed (e.g. one of the many Magnus`demos activated a format routine without warning, when one pressed Select or Option key)...

Edited by CharlieChaplin
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I'm asking out of curiosity. And also, opposite to modern viruses, 80s and early 90s viruses were... kinda cool.

 

I'm pretty sure I had one. Messed up disks and it wasn't my disk drive (I had a few so I mixed it up to rule it out)..

Edited by sl0re

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[And then there was the april fools program Paperweight... funny, giving heart-attacks to some folks, but luckily not a virus (just a reset-proof program that shows tv-snow)...]

 

And that's the one I was referring to. I remember getting that magazine in the mail and questioning why they would print something like that. It took a while to register what months issue it was. I didn't want to give it away above, just in case someone new didn't realize it. :)

Edited by idavis

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Brilliant! I remember Paperweight but never saw it in action, thanks for that. I remember several people wrote in and claimed it had really killed their atari. It was supposed to be a built in self destruct system for when the machine was near it's end of life to give it a dignified end or somesuch.

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Viruses usually need a roomier system than the A8 to really be effective:

 

1. When you try to stick extra code somewhere, there's a good chance it will mess things up.

2. Since it's common to turn the system off between programs, there isn't a whole lot of opportunity to infect other disks.

3. Extra writes to the floppy are likely to be noticed by the user.

 

The one thing you could do is distribute modified versions of DOS that would do something to the disks you used it with but it would be tough to write a really effective virus.

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I was expecting either Linda Blair, or perhaps a Jaggi to pop up at the end there. My speaker was turned down just in case!

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Viruses usually need a roomier system than the A8 to really be effective:

 

1. When you try to stick extra code somewhere, there's a good chance it will mess things up.

2. Since it's common to turn the system off between programs, there isn't a whole lot of opportunity to infect other disks.

3. Extra writes to the floppy are likely to be noticed by the user.

 

The one thing you could do is distribute modified versions of DOS that would do something to the disks you used it with but it would be tough to write a really effective virus.

 

About 3rd point, it may be disguised as game that can save highscores to disks. Now, virus writes to screen "Checking for available disks..." where aside of actually checking disks, it'd also write boot payload into it (game) so when some sore loser would accidentally boot disk, they'd found game-virus. Then it'll display list of available disks and ask person to select. To make user insert "innocent" disk, there'd be also routine that would tell user that he can't save highscores on game's disk. Of course after inserting, disks would be need to "rechecked"...

 

So since floppy writes are masked as reads, user wouldn't be alarmed by it and virus would pass unknowingly. Also in case drive already had boot sector, virus would deliver other payload: 1) save itself to any connected writable media 2) pass control to original boot program. The only difference would be slightly longer load time, but if code is written well, it would be unnoticeable.

 

There are no impossible things, there is only lack of skills (which I lack ATM to do such thing, but I believe other people in the community are not).

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Back in the day I took a crack at a very simple boot sector virus after watching some movie that featured Hollywood's idea of one. It was memory resident and would replicate if an uninfected disk was inserted. I don't recall if it only replicated on writes or reads also. All it did was print a message on the screen when one booted off of an infected disk. It wasn't very sophisticated and I never got around to 'releasing' it in any meaningful way.

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A thought ...

 

Is there not a way for the virus to install itself into VBI code, periodically check if there is another disk in the drive like, every 5 minutes, and then execute a routine that copies itself onto the end of an AUTORUN.SYS file or into the boot sector? And then, to be really nasty, decides to format your disk for no reason.

 

The code could maybe check the system timer for 5 minutes to pass, then scan your disk's boot sector to see if it has been changed.

 

It seems VBI code would be the perfect place for a virus to hide in your Atari's memory.

Edited by Synthpopalooza

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For the ST, yes, quite a number.

The one I liked was "ghost". It basically replicated on boot sectors of floppies and changed the axis for the mouse (up go down, left go right, etc.)

 

This were the fun times...

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We already have software which propagates from one disk to another and turns the A8 into a useless brick: MyDOS. :D

 

 

 

 

 

mmmmm.Don't you mean SPARTADROS!!!!!

 

 

As for A8 and virus's, how about the tramiels or commodore, two of the A8's biggest virus's

Edited by carmel_andrews
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mmmmm.Don't you mean SPARTADROS!!!!!

 

 

As for A8 and virus's, how about the tramiels or commodore, two of the A8's biggest virus's

So we can say that they never found the cure!...

When it seems that current virus 'is no more' they just get another one(s).

Today Atari it's totally infected!...

;)

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