UTD Researchers Create Frankenstein Computer Virus. Thanks a Lot, Guys.

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There is undoubtedly a tale of heartbreak in their past. Maybe Kevin Hamlen and Vishwath Mohan were disillusioned when the world made them computer scientists at UTD instead of pop stars. Maybe they were mad that their school's mascot being a Comet named Temoc. Maybe they simply hate civilization as we know it. Whatever the case may be, the researchers have created a nasty-sounding computer virus.

As New Scientist reports, their work was funded by the U.S. Air Force and named after Frankenstein, as in the freakish literary monster, sewn together from sundry and disconnected parts, who serves as an ominous rebuke to man's hubris.

The virus works on an infected computer by taking snippets of benign computer code from ordinary programs -- your Internet browser or word processor, for instance -- and splicing them together to create malware. It is programmed to perform certain tasks, but by borrowing code from ordinary computer programs and taking a different form each time it infects a new computer, it is extremely difficult for anti-virus software to detect.

As for why the Air Force would want in on the research, Hamlen suggests to the New Scientist that the virus could help infiltrate enemy computer systems. So that's what this is: yet another weapon in the arsenal of democracy.

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