We hear about new computer viruses all the time. What is the motivation behind developing computer viruses and watching them wreak havoc on the Internet?
Many viruses raid your documents including your email address book for information that can be used to make business contacts. This data is assembled into a database that can then be sold to others as a qualified list of “opportunity seekers.” The result is a mountain of spam emails, and even unsolicited direct mail pieces, if the address books also contain home addresses as well. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous companies look upon this invasion of privacy as a victimless crime, since you are not doing any permanent damage to anyone’s hard drive. However, theft of data is still theft, no matter what the intended purpose.
Viruses Create Trouble
The fact is that some people love to create problems for other people. Perhaps it is someone who has an axe to grind with big business. Maybe it is someone who thinks the world is getting too dependent on the Internet for worldwide communications. Of course, creating computer viruses may also just be a way to get attention, even if one has to remain anonymous in order to avoid going to jail. The sheer thrill of knowing that your creation disrupted systems all over the world may feed an ego that doesn’t have much else going for it.
The Thrill of the Chase
For some, it is not really wanting to cause trouble for other people so much as it is seeing if one can create a virus, launch it successfully, and have it make some sort of an impact before it is contained. For this type of person, it is the process that brings the satisfaction, not the end result. Developing the virus and setting it free is the thing that makes it all worthwhile.
Computer viruses cost individuals and companies untold millions of dollars each year. While some computer viruses are more along the line of merely irritating, there are viruses that have crippled whole infrastructures and created major problems. Whatever the reason behind creating a computer virus, there has yet to be a legitimate excuse for developing one.