Some New Ideaz for Future Viruses

In this article, I'll explain about some possible new ideas, methods and 
techniques to be used in future viruses, be it worms, trojans or file 
infecting viruses
Note that all methods and ideas I've discussed here are not pure facts. 
They're based upon what I think it's possible from my experience being a 
virus writer/researcher and collector.

Learning Capability

One technique which I've not seen so far in the virus scene is learning 
capability. Someday somehow a virus with learning capability will emerge. 
Some would say it's impossible but who knows....everything's possible. We've 
seen the world's first JPEG infecting virus - Perrun (well not actually a 
"real" JPEG infecting virus coz it requires the stub Exe file as a middle 
man). JPEG infection is regarded as impossible all these years until the 
appearance of Perrun.
Learning capability in viruses can be implemented using AI methods. This is 
where the virus can learn about its residential environment in a system, 
virtually taking into account the operating system specs, type, stats and 
characteristics. The virus will then change its way of behavior, according 
to its environment. For example, the virus will be able to quickly adapt to 
its surroundings in the system when new softwares are being installed, 
modified, updated or deleted or even system settings changed. This 
represents a successor to the current polymorphism, metamorphism and 
oligomorphism in current virus trends.

Virus -> Virus Communication: Developing a Common Virus Language

This is another technique which I've not seen in today's virus world. 
Basically it involves developing a "virus language" for viruses to 
communicate with each other. Like we humans communicate using our language, 
be it English, Chinese, Spanish or Japanese; a common language for viruses 
can be developed. This could be either composed of normal alphabetical words 
or even jumbled words of numbers, characters and special symbols. By having 
a common virus language, viruses can communicate with each other whether 
it's the same virus instance on an infected system or a different virus that 
supports the common language. Viruses can then exchange information 
regarding the state or itself using AI methods and then adapt or change 
itself according to these information. The medium of communication can be 
either through network, utilizing network protocols, or IPC such as 
mailslots, mapped memory and named pipes or any other medium which is 
suitable. This, coupled with the learning capability of a virus makes a 
virus mimics real world lifeform having its own intelligence and life.

Steganographic Viruses

Viruses could utilize the power of steganography as a mean to propagate. By 
residing and hiding in data files like image, music or movie files, it's a 
perfect technique to hide from prying eyes or even detection of AV 

Multi-Protocol Viruses

Modern worms uses email as a mean of primary propagation. They can either 
use the classic MAPI method or impementing a built in SMTP engine or using 
the more advanced API hooking (used by Win95.SKA). All these uses TCP/IP as 
the main network protocol. In the near future, it's possible to see 
viruses/worms that utilizes other network protocols such as Novell's 
IPX/SPX, IBM's NetBIOS, or SMB. These viruses/worms can use one or a 
combination of several of them to spread itself and reach out to more 

Mobile Phone Viruses

I'm not sure if this technology has appeared in the virus scene but I'll try 
to explain it. Nowadays, mobile phones are becoming a must among people all 
around the world, especially youths. Viruses/worms can infect mobile phones. 
They can use the classic method of enumerating your address book, in this 
case your contact no. of all your friends in your mobile and propagate 
itself to each of them via SMS. This method is similar to that of the 
Melissa virus and several other worms. Mobile phones are a heaven for 
viruses/worms due to the widespread of use of mobiles around the globe. If 
that's the case of widespread of mobile phone viruses, they'll probably have 
AV softwares on mobile phones :)

Well, that's it. I've explained some possible ideas and techniques that 
could be implemented in future viruses/worms. Till then, Adios.

Written by: allegro - 20 Sept 2002

Back to index