An obsolete book on computer viruses

Compute!'s Computer Viruses - Ralph Roberts, Stephen Levy

I'm not really sure why I read through this book, not that one could say that I actually read it deeply because while it deals with computer viruses, and since computer viruses are still relevant today, this book was written in 1988 and all of the viruses, and the virus removal software, were pretty much obsolete. However, what got me curious was that whether it was possible for viruses to be transmitted without the existence of a hard-drive, since the reason viruses are dangerous is because they copy themselves and in copying themselves, end up causing problems for your computer. However, the thing with the Commodore 64, and some of the other earlier computers, was that they didn't have hard-drives, and because they didn't have hard-drives, they didn't have anything the computer could copy the virus onto.

Well, it turns out that if your computer doesn't have a hard-drive then it is pretty difficult for a virus to infect the computer, however since pretty much all computers have hard-drives these days, and in fact most information is transferred either by portable hard-drive, flash drive, or over the internet, then the question of whether a computer without a hard-drive can get infected is a moot point.

I remember when I got my first computer with a hard-drive: it was an Amiga 600. I also remember borrowing some disks off of a friend (and these disks were pretty dirty, or a better word would be dusty) and when I put them into my computer to see what was on them my virus scanning program suddeny started screaming that there were viruses on these disks. I then looked at them and said to myself that I was not surprised that this guy's disks were not just dirty, but diseased as well. I even suspect that this guy didn't even know the viruses were on his computer.

I could go into further detail about the types of viruses, how they work, and what they do to your computer, but I am sure you can look them up on the internet. If you are unsure where to look, go to Google and type in 'computer viruses' into the little box in the middle of the screen, an then follow the links. If that doesn't help you, then turn off your computer, unplug it, put it into the back you your car and drive to the nearest computer shop and ask the guy to fix the computer up because you think it has a virus. The guy will probably then take $200.00 off of you and then proceed to explain that your computer actually doesn't have any viruses and that you are just being paranoid.

The other interesting thing is how the author of this book raised the question of why anybody would want to create a virus because these people are probably just sadistic creeps that get their joy out of making other people's lives a misery. Well, that may be the case, but on the other hand there could be a number of reasons why the viruses exist, and here are some speculations:

1) The Russians could have created the viruses to wreck havoc across the capitalist computer system;

2) Computer hackers or other criminals could have created them to shut down a computer system so as to conduct a robbery;

3) Software companies could have created them to discourage piracy;

4) The CIA could have manufactured them to get back at the Russians for manufacturing viruses in the first place;

5) Some radical left wing group could have created them to wreck havoc across the capitalist system, and;

6) Some eight year old genius was board so he decided to see what he could do with a computer program.

See, there are many reasons as to why a virus could have been created that does not necessarily involve somebody who gets their kicks out of being just plain evil (unless you put the eight year old kid into that category, but I wasn't thinking along those lines).

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1009921615