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10 March 2008, 12:25

Legendary virus programmer group dissolved

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The legendary 29A virus programmer group is no more. According to a posting by long-time member Virusbuster on 29A's web page there is no longer any contact between group members. Therefore, according to the posting the last remaining member decided to dissolve the group. Activities ceased in July 2007 when several members left the group and only three virus experts remained.

Anti-virus specialists assume that one reason for the group's downfall is the now almost complete commercialisation of the malware scene, which has driven some virus authors into the arms of organised crime. Virus authors and botnet operators are increasingly being sent to prison for their activities, which doesn't exactly make belonging to such a group more attractive - even if they are only amateurs like 29A.

29A's demo viruses tended to be pioneering because they demonstrated the feasibility of viruses for various operating systems and technologies. The group, whose name is hexadecimal for 666, was responsible for the Cabir smart phone virus, early viruses for Windows 2000, for the 64-bit versions of Windows and for NTFS Alternate Data Streams, as well as Win32.Winux, a malware sample for Windows and Linux. Their malware never contained malicious routines and only demonstrated distribution methods and infection vectors. In its active period, the group published several online magazines with articles about virus programming. However, group member Marek "Benny" Strihavka, among others, did finish up in prison for one of the hacks.


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