8 Apr 2005

(I don’t really know where this is going, something I thought up on the train home. Sorry if I never finish it, but here: the start of a sci-fi short story.)

By the name Tom Weller he was scarcely known, the man with the heavy AKA: a.k.a. luxØr, he was the the one responsible for that famous HLPIMTRPD virus which, yes, even in this day and age (or is it especially in this day and age?) convinced some unwitting users to believe that there was a man trapped in their computer. Focus: upon an ordinary screen, probably running an internet browser or word processing program, which is surreptitiously seized at an exact, predetermined time, and whereupon begins to be scrawled “Helq me! I am trappeb inside this machine!” (Yes, a couple of the letters were even reversed, to mimic if someone were actually, imperfectly scribbling the message from the inside.) Hook the keyboard input to an Eliza*-like interface writing back in a semi-random script, and whammo — 9 out of 10 (actually, more like 2 out of 10) users can’t taste the difference from a decaffeinated virus. You will note that the intent was never to do harm, but just to laugh his head off the next day, which he did. It didn’t destroy any files, and its propagation phase was already quite complete by that magic hour — no annoying emails to everyone you know. And whaddayaknow, it made CNN.com, so the objective was well achieved: LOL, and L, and L, and L… until later that next day, when something very similar to what he had perpetrated happened to him.

*Eliza was a program that acted like a psychotherapist, to which some people were so taken as to tell their real problems to.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:02 am

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