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#1 hdr  Icon User is offline

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Need to check if this is technically correct

Posted 06 August 2014 - 02:08 AM

I actually picked up writing as a hobby, and my current story is about a guy who received a floppy disk in the mail, ran it, and found a weird DOS program that kept on asking him questions before overloading his old PC. He then returns to his Mac, and discovered a weird message on his Mac, despite the fact that the old PC wasn't even connected to the internet, so he posted the events on a forum to get some clues, like this:

My post went something like this:
ZippoPinhead (my go-to forum username)

So I got a floppy disk in the mail, no return address. Weird, right? Well, that’s just the start of it. So I loaded that thing up on my old Windows 98 computer and there was this DOS app called “RUN ME”. And to add another layer to the weirdness cake, I checked the file properties and the company name was “longforgotten” and the Internal name was something like “justrunitalready.exe” 

So I ran that thing, and the first thing that came out was asking me if I remember and how could I forget (Sheesh, come to think of it it sounds like my ex) and asked me the significance of 31st July 2000 and 1st August 1999 (Oh yeah, I found it at the file’s properties too, forgot to mention that) and then it told me I’ll remember, and then it flooded my computer and made a lot of beeping noises, so I turned it off.

Weird enough, right? Not really. So I went back to my Mac, and to add the icing to the weirdness cake, when I sat down there was this dialogue box that says I will remember and how forgetting is human nature and instead of “Cancel” and “Okay” it said “You Will” and “Hate Yourself”.

I mean, that’s pretty fucking weird if you consider the fact that the old Win 98 pc wasn’t even connected to my network. I use it mostly to play my old games like Diablo II and Quake, really. And I don’t have to tell you how different OS X is compared to Windows 98 for that fucking matter.

Oh, and to add a cherry on top of the weirdness cake?

When I booted that old computer there was this DOS prompt that said “One of many”, which I assumed that I’ll probably have more floppies sent my way. Oh yeah, when I tried to make a copy of the app it went missing as well, or I would’ve grabbed some screenshots or told you guys to run it in a VM or something.

So, yeah.  Anyone has any idea what’s going on?

Among the replies I received were:

FrankR
I have no idea what’s going on here, but now I’m craving cake.	

DejaEntendu
I really have no idea what to make out of this. Have you googled the name of the weird DOS application and see if anyone else got it or you just got an outdated virus? In that case I guess you better scan that computer as well.

Jr957
Alright, technical weirdness aside, I don’t think any of us has even heard of that thing. It could be someone mailing floppies of an old DOS app they made ages ago to random people for lulz.

DeltaLord
Dude, that’s a really weird story. Sure that’s not a bad batch of weed you just smoked?

CrazedCoder
Well, it have no idea how, but that kind of app did happen back in the heyday of DOS, so I assumed it’s something the guy whipped up in C++ for fun. But the Mac dialogue box thing was pretty weird. I mean, yeah you can make something like that in C++but the fact that:
a)	The architecture of OS X and Windows are wildly different, like you’ve mentioned earlier.
B)/>	And if, and this is a pretty big if, both computers are networked, there’s no way a DOS app somehow manage to find a Mac OS X machine and launch it. People usually make different versions of the same program for that.
c)	Not to mention that OS X was launched when people where phasing out Win 98 for XP. It would’ve made more sense if it was a Windows exe file with a hidden script for other platforms, but I don’t think I’ve seen one so far, and the dates are too far, while they match a file you’d get during the Win 98 era, it doesn’t seem that way for OS X.
So my best assumption is that whoever sent you this somehow found vulnerability in your system (shocking, I know) and launched the script. Check your logs, you might find something. I think it might be related to that floppy you got, but I just don’t know how or what. I really have no idea.



So I'm just checking, were the assumptions made by the forum members technically correct or did I make any mistakes?

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Replies To: Need to check if this is technically correct

#2 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Need to check if this is technically correct

Posted 06 August 2014 - 07:53 AM

Hmm.. question aside - that's a pretty rough draft.

As for the forum members assumptions it is hard to say. I do not know if that one guy is craving cake or not nor the "bad" levels of the weed batch.

Scanning a computer would be a good starting point.. always.

As for lines 33+ .. yes.. OSX and Win98 have different architectures. If on a same network - yes.. I would hope both machines would be able to see each other.

As for timelines.. that is easily searched..
https://en.wikipedia.../Mac_OS_X_v10.0
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mac_OS_X
https://en.wikipedia...wiki/Windows_98

though.. there is some questions if holes could be poked in the base 'openstep' kernel.
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#3 hdr  Icon User is offline

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Re: Need to check if this is technically correct

Posted 06 August 2014 - 10:11 AM

My main concerns are with the programming-based answers given by "CrazedCoder", actually. I've read about self-destructing programs, especially back in the early nineties. Originally I wanted to say that it's something anyone could've cooked up in QuickBasic, but then I thought it's only possible if it's done using C++.

And my other concern if that assuming both computers were connected to a network (which they're not) would the application, running on Windows be able to send system calls to something like Linux or OS X? Or could it launch a script to launch the system calls? (I'm sort of feeling a bit stupid asking this question, really.)
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#4 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Need to check if this is technically correct

Posted 06 August 2014 - 01:10 PM

It sort of works... but then again, this is fiction so does it matter too much on the details? As I see it the protagonist blithely ran a disk he got in the mail, from an unknown source, and then actively engaged an executable on it. A little far fetched right there so why not wave your hands a little more and claim the uber-machine coded-virus exploited a loophole by reverse the bitshifting polarity between the transport and datalink layers.
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#5 hdr  Icon User is offline

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Re: Need to check if this is technically correct

Posted 07 August 2014 - 04:58 AM

In that case, I think you've answered more than enough. Thanks for your help.
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#6 DarenR  Icon User is offline

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Re: Need to check if this is technically correct

Posted 07 August 2014 - 06:09 AM

the lawnmower man?
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#7 hdr  Icon User is offline

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Re: Need to check if this is technically correct

Posted 07 August 2014 - 08:20 AM

View PostDarenR, on 07 August 2014 - 09:09 PM, said:

the lawnmower man?


It's just some silly "horror" story I'm working on involving old computers and floppy disks for the heck of it. (Horror in quotes because frankly, some of my stuff aren't even remotely scary.)
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#8 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Need to check if this is technically correct

Posted 07 August 2014 - 08:25 AM

Pulse?
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