The Great BRAIN of Pakistan

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by Peter, Mar 21, 2014.

  1. Peter

    Peter Senior Member Senior Member

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    Pakistan indeed has done a lot to save the world from dark and evil times.Its unending quest to bring permanent..uhmm nuclear peace to the world and its neighbors is quite laudable.Similarly it also possesses a very open and free society.One where people are allowed to do any kind of activities.Now some of you might start shouting at me and say they execute innocent christian and hindu families.However,you ignorant fools forget that they openly allow their citizens to develop new bomb making technologies and hatch clever plots to terrorize ... I mean to say bring everlasting peace and harmony to its neighbors.Those who do not engage in such practices are executed.Do not forget this nation of greats knowingly sheltered one of the most loved and benevolent men of our times-Osama Bin Laden.Also they sometimes go to wars with us Indians and lose these conflicts.They do this to support our Bollywood film industry.Come to think of it if 1972,Kargil or other such conflicts had not occurred we would not get the patriotic films like Border etc
    So the greatness of Pakistanis can be seen in the field of computers also.The first computer virus in MS-DOS was developed by two bright brothers hailing from the great and glorious nation of Pakistan.It was aptly named -BRAIN as it showed the total intellectual capabilities of the entire nation of Pakistan.While brain would become the predecessor of all modern computer viruses we must learn a bit more about this computer virus.

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  3. Peter

    Peter Senior Member Senior Member

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    Brain is the industry standard name for a computer virus that was released in its first form in January 1986, and is considered to be the first computer virus for MS-DOS. It infects the boot sector of storage media formatted with the DOS File Allocation Table (FAT) file system. Brain was written by two brothers, Basit Farooq Alvi and Amjad Farooq Alvi,from Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan.

    Brain affects the IBM PC 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 five kilobytes of bad sectors. The disk label is changed to ©Brain, and the following text can be seen in infected boot sectors:
    Welcome to the Dungeon (c) 1986 Basit & 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 disk drive and makes seven kilobytes of memory unavailable to DOS. Brain was written by Amjad Farooq Alvi, who at the time lived in Chahmiran, near Lahore Railway Station, in 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. he cryptic message "Welcome to the Dungeon", a safeguard and reference to an early programming forum on Dungeon BBS, appeared after a year because the brothers licensed a beta version of the code. The brothers could not be contacted to receive the final release of this version of the program.
    Brain lacks code for dealing with hard disk partitioning, 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 paid no attention to 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 to call them for inoculation:
    Welcome to the Dungeon © 1986 Brain & Amjads (pvt). BRAIN COMPUTER SERVICES 730 NIZAM BLOCK ALLAMA IQBAL TOWN LAHORE-PAKISTAN PHONE: 430791,443248,280530. Beware of this VIRUS.... Contact us for vaccination...
    This program was originally used to track a heart monitoring program for the IBM PC, and pirates were distributing illicit copies of the disks. This tracking program was supposed to stop and track illegal copies of the disk. Unfortunately, the program also sometimes used the last 5k on an Apple floppy, making additional saves to the disk by other programs impossible.
    When the brothers began to receive a large number of phone calls from people in United States, United Kingdom and elsewhere, demanding that they disinfect their machines, they were stunned and tried to explain to the outraged callers that their motivation had not been malicious. Their phone lines were overloaded. The brothers with another brother Shahid Farooq Alvi are still in business in Pakistan as Brain NET Internet service providers with a company called Brain Telecommunication Limited.
    In 2011, 25 years after Brain was released, Mikko Hyppönen of F-Secure travelled to Pakistan to interview Amjad for a documentary.Being inspired by this documentary and its wide spread, a group of Pakistani bloggers interviewed Amjad, under the banner of Bloggerine.
     
  4. Peter

    Peter Senior Member Senior Member

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    Here`s a TIME article on the famous duo

    Has it been 25 years already? Jump in the Wayback Machine and check out this TIME article that details the first ever PC virus.

    Brothers Amjad and Basit Alvi of Lahore, Pakistan ran a neighborhood computer shop specializing in PC repair and software sales. After Amjad caught wind that one of the programs he’d written was being pirated, he leaked copies containing “a self-replicating program that would ‘infect’ an unauthorized user’s computer, disrupt his operations and force him to contact Amjad for repairs,” according to the article.

    And with that, the first PC virus was born. It was January of 1986.

    The irony is that the Alvi brothers were selling pirated software themselves—programs that “cost several hundred dollars in the U.S., for as little as $1.50 each.” And they even laced some of the pirated copies of the software they were selling with viruses as well—but only software sold to foreigners.

    Per the article:

    “When Pakistanis came in for, say, Lotus 1-2-3, they were sold clean, uncontaminated copies. But foreigners, particularly Americans, were given virus-ridden versions. Why the special treatment for outsiders? The brothers’ somewhat confused rationalization hinges on a loophole in Pakistani law. According to Basit, copyright protection in Pakistan does not extend to computer software. Therefore, he says, it is not illegal for local citizens to trade in bootleg disks; technically, they are not engaged in software piracy. Then why infect American buyers? ‘Because you are pirating,’ says Basit. ‘You must be punished.’”

    Nice, huh?

    As an interesting note, the original TIME article contains a quote by “John McAfee of the InterPath computer company.”

    McAfee said, “This virus is elegant. I don’t admire what he did, but I admire the way he did it. He may be the best virus designer the world has ever seen.” The article was written in 1988, shortly before McAfee left to work full time for his side project, McAfee Associates, which would eventually go on to develop some of the most popular antivirus software in the world.
     
  5. Peter

    Peter Senior Member Senior Member

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    As we can clearly see the brothers were not making a mere computer virus to destroy our pcs and make our digital lives miserable.They were only making an anti piracy program that would rid this world of piracy.True they were themselves indulged in piracy but they had noble intentions.They just wanted Americans to stop piracy as it did not befit them.
     
  6. Peter

    Peter Senior Member Senior Member

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    Their great contribution to computing world did not go unnoticed however.Their humble virus made it into the list of top ten computer viruses-the virus that started it all.
    Ten computer viruses that changed the world | ZDNet

    Before vigilante hackers like Anonymous tamed the Internet, two brothers started their own fight against software piracy. Their weapon: the first PC virus.

    In 1986, students at the University of Delaware began experiencing strange symptoms: temporary memory loss, a lethargic drive, and fits of rage. This wasn’t just any old flu—it was the world’s first personal computer virus. Known as Brain, the bug destroyed memory, slowed the hard drive, and hid a short copyright message in the boot sector, introducing the world to two soon-to-be hacker celebrities.

    At the time, coders Basit and Amjad Farooq Alvi were just 17 and 24, respectively, running a computer store in Lahore, Pakistan. When they discovered that customers were circulating illegal copies of software they’d written, the brothers decided to retaliate. Brain was their attempt to scare pirates straight, but, as the creators tell it, the virus was never intended to be malicious. In a 2011 interview with F-Secure, a Finnish anti-virus company, the brothers called the bug a “friendly virus,” one that “was not made to destroy any data.” Why else would they have stamped the virus code with their names, their phone numbers, and the address of their shop?

    “The idea was that only if the program was illegally copied would the virus load,” Amjad said in a Pakistani TV interview a few years ago. The Alvis also had an ingenious method for keeping track of how far the virus had spread. “[We] had a ‘counter’ in the program, which could keep track of all copies made and when they were made.”

    OUTBREAK

    The brothers claim they never knew that Brain would grow into a monster beyond their control. But a 1988 TIME magazine article reveals a more complicated truth: As concerned as they were with piracy of their own software, that didn’t stop them from making and selling bootleg copies of other expensive programs, such as Lotus 1-2-3. In fact, the ethics of their computer vigilantism are a little murky. Computer software isn’t copyright protected in Pakistan, Basit has argued in interviews, so therefore it’s not piracy for people to trade bootleg disks.

    Under that rationale, the brothers sold clean bootleg copies to Pakistanis—and virus-infected versions to American students and backpackers. When Americans flew home and attempted to copy the programs, they ended up infecting every floppy disc subsequently inserted into their computers, even discs that had nothing to do with the original program.

    Shortly after the University of Delaware outbreak, Brain began popping up at other universities, and then at newspapers. The New York Times reported that a “rogue computer program” had hit the Providence Journal-Bulletin, though the “damage was limited to one reporter losing several months of work contained on a floppy disk.”

    While there was never any legal action, the media response was explosive. Basit and Amjad began receiving calls from all over the world. They were as surprised as anyone that their little experiment had traveled so far. After all, unlike today’s computer viruses, which spread at lightning speed, Brain had to transmit itself the old-fashioned way—through human carriers toting around 5.25-inch floppy discs.

    But the binary genie was out of the bottle. Today, there are more than a million viruses vying to infect your computer; it’s estimated that half of all PCs are or have been infected. Consumers shell out more than $4 billion per year for software to fight these digital dragons.

    As for the brothers, the virus hasn’t been bad for business. Their company, Brain Net, is now the largest Internet service provider in Pakistan. While they maintain that they never meant to hurt anyone, they have nevertheless embraced Brain as a device that exposed the global nature of piracy. “The virus could not have spread unless people were copying the software illegally,” Amjad said during his Pakistani TV interview.

    The brothers, who told reporters that they stopped selling contaminated software sometime in 1987, are still based at the same address in Lahore—the one stamped into Brain’s code.
     
  7. Peter

    Peter Senior Member Senior Member

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    W.G.Ewald likes this.
  8. Peter

    Peter Senior Member Senior Member

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    I would hope to showcase this achievement of the Pakistanis and probabbly throw it in their forums.Also I hope they continue to make such world defying discoveries and may the Indians like me or in that case Americans/the entire world never succeed in stopping their great and awe inspiring activities
     
    W.G.Ewald likes this.
  9. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Great brain of pakistan.


    Water car engineer

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    zaid hamid

    [​IMG]
     

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