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What motivates designers of computer viruses?

Not all computer-virus writers fit the stereotype of the teenage boy trying to impress fellow hackers, experts say. Changing motives and increasing sophistication make these perpetrators harder to catch.

Victims of the Blaster and SoBig.F worms, which this month barraged hundreds of thousands of computers with e-mail, may curse the offenders and wonder what twisted psychology lies behind such destruction.

The answer is complex: People compile and release malicious code into the world's computer networks for reasons ranging from curiosity to anger to desire to profit financially or make a political statement.

The garden-variety culprit is still the "script kiddie," a teenage or young adult male who's been messing around with code and decides to release a virus just to see if it works — and to show off his skill to the community of underground programmers.

News source: Seattle Times

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