To the roots of PC Virus
Well… Today with me here is an exuberant, IT passionate, and co-creator of first PC Virus ever, Brain, Amjad Alvi. The one, who along with his brother’s contribution, Basit, was possible to conclude the virus. Alvi brothers’ these days are successful businessmen, in the field of IT, running Brain Telecommunications.
So, what was your age, when you created Brain?
Well… It is about 25 years back tale, I guess I was then around 20.
Why did you opt for IT (Information Technology)?
Since my childhood, I was eager and inquisitive in electronics, and discovering them. This certainly paved my way. I believe it is one of the best choice for one who is brought up, in a developing country. As the resources are unexploited there. And what is requisite is for IT, is intellectual thoughts coupled with few materialistic resources. That’s it.
So to be precise, with even a single Personal Computer(PC), you can create splendid wonders.
Me and Basit, were working on software development, back in 1984, we were at that time focused on multi-tasking. Eventually, we realized that DOS is flawed, with huge security risks, which vulnerabilities exposed to.
Well. Our work was not intended to harm anyone. It was a friendly virus. We wrote it for our medical software to be protected from piracy, and was on a remote widespread. We did have a believe it will spread, but not filled with expectations of such a widespread.
Can you briefly tell, what Brain is all about?
Brain was virus, created for protection from copyright infringers only, for our medical software. The novelty of this virus is that it checked the significant bit of BIOS, if they are clear, it didn’t infected the disk. The sole purpose for it was to track and stop illegal copies of disk.
Well… It is common to hear that the fame you gained, eventually led you to disconnect the telephone lines?
Well, we never intended for personal or financial gain. It was just an experimental approach, and surely of its outcome we were quite uncertain about. When the virus had widespread, people outrageously called us asking us to disinfect the virus. Our attempt to make them understand that the virus is not malicious but a friendly-one was successfully accepted and understood.
Mr. Amjad your contribution is quite known about Brain. What about that of your brother Mr. Basit?
Well his efforts are indispensable to me, while coding Brain. He had assembly routine verification, couple with his innovative ideas and his constant motivation.
Nowadays, majority of viruses are created for personal or financial gain. How do you view it?
I believe it as solely a criminal act.
In this decade, it is common to hear Indians uprising in the IT world, what is your reaction on it?
Indians have contributed much in mechanism, their intellectual contribution is oddly proportional to that as of Pakistanis, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, and Filipinos.
Well, we Desi (people of subcontinent) are obnoxiously known for plagiarism and intellectual-theft?
In my analysis, it is comparatively lower than other parts of the world. Well, when you talk about software piracy, it is another aspect, which is less- mild approach. At least one who have wrote an application, is still attributed to.
How do you view current situation of IT widespread throughout the developing countries, in last few years? How is it outcome, below or above your expectation?
I view the IT has a lot potential for world economics to progress. Unfortunately, it is outcome is a bit dismal, lower than my expectations. People opinion of IT haven’t progressed much, majority of them view as merely work of spreadsheets, documents, notes, browsing, along with a group of people viewing it as reproachful. People are not considering a thought of developing some applications of their own.
In urban areas, the popularity of IT is justified, but what about in rural areas?
It is all depending on the demand and the severity in the usage of an application. Perhaps, in rural areas it is not much demanded. They have slightly different needs of applications, and they have other mediums of IT, which we consider nominal, but it does fulfill their demands.
In your analysis, what is the future scope for IT?
It has a significant scope, indeed. We can now see how people are adopting it quite quickly. As with the branching out of devices; handheld, touch devices etc, allowing disabled people to get a chance to exploit the phenomena of IT, has perhaps the deepest scope.
It is common to see, the youth generation getting much involved in blogging? What is your analysis on it, whether it has remarkable effects on society progress or just a crap?
I believe the blogging is creating a virtual society, allowing people more easily discover and exchange each others’ opinion and get acquaintance on their take up on things.
Well, conventional methods were quite reliable because of the way they scrutinized every stage. The modern methods are also good, but again it has drawbacks of having huge risks of privacy, and other vulnerabilities. Even more, as many people from different cultural background come to harmonize, this often turns out into vehemence criticism of each other, as the replies that follows eventually cross the cultural bounds.
On this independence day, what message would you like to give?
(Paused for a while) In my opinion, we Pakistanis as a nation are declining. The reason we justify is our political figures. I am against this justification, I believe we as individual have opted an immoral values, possessing negative thinking, and concern for personal gain only. We should think like a nation, and chose those political figures, who posses this valuable asset of integrity, leaving the self-centric view of personal gains aside.
In this tension momentum, according to my analysis, there are two schools of thought, one who believe in integrity and honesty as sole philosophy, which are unfortunately quite less in numerical figures. While others are the one, who have pity of some thing wrong or immoral is held, but are a part of these heinous crimes. I think its time to bring these astray ones, towards the path of rightness and integrity.
Well, I am quite thankful to Mr. Amjad, for giving his valuable time, giving the interview. More ever, allowing us to learn more about Brain virus, I hope Alvi brothers’ won’t mind all the pestering attitudes of mine. I find this journey of mine, to be quite an inspiring and aspiring for us being a nation, and something to feel proud off. ~Emaar Kasbati
Found interesting, to know more about Brain and their creators, watch the video below.