VX Heaven, old-school virus-writing website, returns from the dead after police raid

Graham Cluley

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.

vx-heaven

A statement, announcing the website’s return, reads:

The VXHeaven team proudly states: WE ARE BACK AND LOADED:)

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.

vx-heaven-2

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”.)

Graham Cluley Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.

4 Replies to “VX Heaven, old-school virus-writing website, returns from the dead after police raid”

  1. As a security researcher, I can say that the VX Heaven raid and shutdown seriously hurt my ability to do my job. How's that for irony? Graham, while I have always appreciated your blog, I have to disagree with you about the message you're sending here. Many times, these "hobbyists" are the REAL good guys and without their work (which they do for no monetary compensation) the antivirus and digital security industry would be having an even harder time than they already are. The information and help provided at sites like this are a priceless tool for security researchers.

    1. Absolutely agree with you, even now vxheaven has stopped downloads from website and that is really impacting my work in a security organisation.

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