There is an afterlife for VX Heaven it seems as the virus-writing website - shut down by Ukrainian police in March 2012 as part of a criminal investigation - has resurfaced on the internet.
A statement, announcing the website’s return, reads:
As we all can remember, 23.03.2012 the VXHeaven project was shut down due to unfounded legal prosecution. Servers and most of data were raided by legal authorities, they are remained in unknow condition by this time. Despite of all the legal and technical difficulties, we've done all possible things to bring the project back for the grace of all our beloved friends, who supported us all this time, and keep supporting VXHeaven. We would like to thank all the people who helped the project in those darkest times with their donations and just warm words and feelings. Every cent you donated, every bit of message you spreaded did the right and honorable thing! We kept our promise and did survive to serve you knowledge and fight ignorance in the world of digital freedom.
Clearly the donations weren’t spent on a proper spellchecker, then.
Websites like VX Heaven are something of an anomaly today, as most malware creation is done by organised cybercriminals with financial motivation, who don’t want to draw attention to themselves with such public activities.
The website’s re-emergence suggests that the Ukrainian authorities have decided that the hobbyist malware authors of yesteryear are not a particular priority, compared to the more serious criminal gangs who create botnets, send spam and steal thousands of users’ personal details.
Nevertheless, I still feel that the old-school hobbyists are playing a dangerous game. The distribution and creation of malicious code and hacking tools have become a concern for computer crime authorities around the world, who are unlikely to view such activities kindly.
You might do a lot better learning about computer security from the good guys, rather than visiting websites run by people who believe that “Viruses don’t harm, ignorance does”.
(By the way, if you were not aware, “VX” is k3wl-speek for “Virus eXchange”.)