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"I'm the Creeper. Catch me if you can!"

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[image source: Le Journal du Geek]

The computer virus turned 40 this past week. Unlike many (read most) viruses today, Creeper (in reference to a character from Scooby Doo), was "a security test to see if a self-replicating program could be written". Creeper was an experimental program, not malicious in its making, but was used to demonstrate a mobile application. However, instead of replicating itself on systems, Creeper jumped from system to system, attempting to remove itself from previous systems as it moved on. Consequently, Creeper didn't install itself on multiple machines, but just moved around the ARPANET network (ARPANET was the precursor to the Internet).
Once it found its way onto a computer, it would produce the message "I'm the Creeper. Catch me if you can!" at the C prompt. Later on, Reaper was created, the anti-virus program written to catch and remove Creeper. Reaper did move through the network, replicating itself. When it found a copy of Creeper, it would log it out. Happy Creeper week everyone!

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