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Chapter 8. Classification According to Payload

" I think computer viruses should count as life. I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. We've created life in our own image."

Stephen Hawking

This chapter describes the most common computer-virus activation methods. Computer viruses can use an endless number of events to trigger their activation routines. Common examples of such events include, but are not limited to, the following basic methods:

  • System date or time

  • A particular file's file date stamp

  • A particular filename

  • The default language setting of the system

  • The name of a visited Web site

  • The system's IP address

  • The operating system used

  • A particular vulnerability that only exists in a certain version of an operating system, such as Russian Windows versions.

Even targeted virus attacks are now feasible, although general control over virus code replication remains difficultbut not impossible.

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