- Brain (computer virus)
name = ©Brain
caption = The boot sector of an infected floppy
©Brain (the industry standard name being Brain) is (in its first incarnation written in January 1986) considered to be the first
computer virusfor MS-DOS. It infects the boot sectorof storage media formatted with the DOS File Allocation Table(FAT) file system. The virus is also known as Lahore, Pakistani, Pakistani Brain, Brain-A and UIUC. Businessweekmagazine at the time called the virus the Pakistani flu.
©Brain affects the computer by replacing the boot sector of a floppy disk with a copy of the virus. The real boot sector is moved to another sector and marked as bad. Infected disks usually have three
kibibytesof bad sectors. The disk label is changed to ©Brain, and the following text can be seen in infected boot sectors::Welcome to the Dungeon © 1986 Brain & Amjads (pvt) Ltd VIRUS_SHOE RECORD V9.0 Dedicated to the dynamic memories of millions of viruses who are no longer with us today - Thanks GOODNESS!! BEWARE OF THE er..VIRUS : this program is catching program follows after these messages....$#@%$@!!There are many minor and major variations to that version of the text. The virus slows down the floppy diskdrive and makes seven kilobytes of memory unavailable to DOS. ©Brain was written by two brothers, Basit and Amjad Farooq Alvi, who lived in Chahmiran, Lahore, Pakistan. The brothers told "TIME" magazine they had written it to protect their medical software from piracy and it was supposed to target copyright infringers only.
©Brain lacks code for dealing with
hard diskpartitioning, and avoids infecting hard disks by checking the most significant bit of the BIOS drive number being accessed; ©Brain does not infect the disk if the bit is clear, unlike other viruses at the time which were totally agnostic of disk partitioning and consequentially destroyed data stored on hard disks by treating them in the same way as floppy disks. ©Brain often went undetected partially due to this deliberate non-destructiveness, especially when the user paid little to no attention to the slow speed of floppy disk access.
The virus came complete with the brothers' address and three phone numbers, and a message that told the user that their machine was infected and for inoculation the user should call them::Welcome to the Dungeon © 1986 Basit * Amjad (pvt) Ltd. BRAIN COMPUTER SERVICES 730 NIZAM BLOCK ALLAMA IQBAL TOWN LAHORE-PAKISTAN PHONE: 430791,443248,280530. Beware of this VIRUS.... Contact us for vaccination...
When the brothers began to receive a large number of phone calls from people in
United States, United Kingdom, and elsewhere, demanding them to disinfect their machines, the brothers were stunned and tried to explain to the outraged callers that their motivation had not been malicious. They ended up having to get their phone lines cut off and regretted that they had revealed their contact info in the first place. The brothers are still in business in Pakistan as Internet service providers with a company called Brain Limited.
It is speculated that the brothers created the virus as a "cute gimmick" to advertise their business. [ [http://www.cknow.com/vtutor/RobertSladeChapter7-Brain.html Computer Knowledge - Robert Slade: Chapter 7 - © Brain ] ]
Ashar is an older version of Brain. There are six variants where the message is different.
* [http://web.archive.org/web/20050308092912/http://www.brain.net.pk/aboutus.htm Archive.org's copy of http://www.brain.net.pk/aboutus.htm] (Not Available)
* [http://www.f-secure.com/v-descs/brain.shtml Description of (c)Brain at F-Secure site]
* [http://www.textfiles.com/virus/braininf.vir Information on the Brain Virus And Variants at textfiles.com]
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