VXers Group 29A Calls it Quits

It seems the VX groups are all destined to die out slowly, viruses for fun, learning and definitely not profit are on the way out. Like many other things its become a commercial market.

The top infector this month being Adware for the first time ever, not a virus. 29A is one of the old skool groups that has been around for a long time, they have quite some accolades for ‘firsts’ in virus development.

29A, hexadecimal for 666, is an underground VXer collective known for creating the first Win 2000 virus, the first 64bit virus, and early examples of mobile malware that infected devices such as PDAs.

The group also published information on how to create viruses through an irregular magazine, seven editions of which were republished on its website. The magazine contained examples of virus source code and tutorials on how to write malware.

The group has been in decline since its heyday at the turn of the century. A steady exodus of members over recent years accelerated early this year as it emerged that GriYo, Vecna, and Z0MBiE left the collective.

I guess within 5-10 years most hacking and VX groups will die out as the business gets taken over by people doing it for purely commercial reasons, accelerating development to make more money from infecting people with simplistic variants of proven strains of worms and trojans.

As previously reported, other less well known VXer groups are dying the death, a development symptomatic of changes in the malware market. Profit has replaced mischief, intellectual curiosity, or a desire to make a name for yourself as the motive for creating malware.

Traditional virus writers have drifted away from the scene to be replaced by more shadowy coders creating sophisticated Trojans aimed at turning an illicit profit. Enforcement action against virus writers has acted as a further disincentive for hobbyists, at least.

Instead of getting proof of concept malware from the likes of 29A, we’re dealing with the Storm Worm Trojan and other sophisticated “professionally developed” botnet clients.

The interesting malware is likely to die out, proof of concept and doing things because they are difficult are not very profitable. The control channels and bots are likely to get more sophisticated, but the infectors will remain based around social engineering and hiding from AV signatures.

Source: The Register

Posted in: Malware, Virology

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23 Responses to VXers Group 29A Calls it Quits

  1. Bogwitch March 10, 2008 at 11:55 am #

    Happy or sad? I’d rather see malcode writers working for the knowledge of it rather than the profit in it but then again, I’d rather not see malcode being written at all. If it was an either/ or, I’d rather 23A were still up. But it isn’t.

  2. James C March 10, 2008 at 2:32 pm #

    29A as a group has been dead for aleast 10 months.

    RIP 29A

  3. zupakomputer March 10, 2008 at 5:02 pm #

    Evil geniuses – a rare breed. There’s plenty of destructive people, and plenty of clever folks, but you never meet anyone that’s both those at the same time.
    I always figured that, other than for profit, anyone writing malware and the likes were just against ‘the system’.

    Wonder how long it’ll take biologists to admit that all viruses in their sphere of things are also all deliberately made too……I’m betting on ‘never going to happen’.

  4. James C March 10, 2008 at 6:37 pm #

    So who made all the Biological viruses. Dont tell your an intelligent design whack job. You seem to intelligent to be one of them.

    Anyhow most of the non-profit and non-scriptkiddy “Vxers” do it for fun and to learn and most don

  5. Pantagruel March 10, 2008 at 10:10 pm #

    It’s indeed sad that VX is dying, the focus will shift from ‘hack to learn’ to ‘hack to earn’ (feel free to add money/peer recognition/etc). But it has been in the making, the last bunch of people who left basically gave the last daggers trust in the already bleeding heart of VX.

    @James C
    The one and only true intelligent design is ‘mother nature’. Eventhough we humans are her design, we are extreme slow in adepting to changing circumstances (we prefer to alter our environment according to our needs).
    The ever changing influenza virus is one of the nicest examples of the impact a small change (drift) of an already intelligent design can have.
    In general the changes of the influenza virus are small but significant enough to twart our immune system/response, hence immunity to influenza appear to serve little purpose and can be considered wasted effort and energy (the next version will infect you any way). But he, it’s our bodies way of dealing with the virus and does serve a purpose.
    Bigger problems arrive when the intelligent design undergoes a dramatic change (shift), turning the influenza virus into a new strain, which could possibly lead to a endemic/pandemic (depends on a number of things).

    For those of you interested go read:

    We, biochemist/immunologists/and alikes, actually use parts of different virions for research purpose. The main reason is they allow us to perform experiments which could otherwise not be done and give us more data on the actuall target cell/organism. Ofcourse precautions are taken and no I am not designing the next biological weapon (no evil genious here I’m affraid). But I now some countries are very interrested in the avain flu, transition in e.g. pigs and the possible jump to humans.

  6. James C March 11, 2008 at 5:42 pm #

    I hope by “mother nature” you mean laws of physic

  7. Pantagruel March 11, 2008 at 8:13 pm #

    @James C

    It only exists if n=3 is significantly (p<=0.005 ) different from a properly chosen control. That should answer your question ;)

    I have little faith in religion since the bulk of them have had a costsly toll on the human race.

  8. James C March 11, 2008 at 9:15 pm #

    Are you on about electron orbits, as in when N>3 an electron will fall in on there host nuclei. If not, could you expand :)

    Not fond of religions either.

  9. zupakomputer March 12, 2008 at 11:07 am #

    JamesC – only a whackjob could consider the cosmos and not realise it’s clearly designed.

    If it wasn’t, then there’d be no order in the elements, no consistency in how compounds are formed, no self-similar patterns in how galaxies and solar systems and more follow the same model of ‘large central object / energy with smaller orbiting objects / energies around it.

    Even if the universe is an accident, it comes out of something that pre-existed it, and is responsible for the order and pattern and consistency the potential-accident displays.

    Even something basic to understanding (and that understanding itself is at all possible by our minds & brains, and not only that but systems have been developed that enable us to communicate such between ourselves) like evolutions form and function adaptions denotes an intelligence.

    Viruses are generally considered to be non-living. They’re odd; they don’t fit in with other pathogens like bacteria and parasites. At the molecular level a virus is something simple, like a protein coat (its equivalent to using a spoofed IP or packet header), and it carries malicious code which it uses to change the DNA in cells to perform different functions. The idea that that could occur at random, especially the amount of times it has so done, is as possible as computer viruses sponteneously coming into existence from parts of programs escaping, then forming into a functional different package that attacks the program they came out of.
    It’s a lot more specialised than a symbiotic relationship, or a predator-prey relation – viruses change things at the genetic level.

    No-one would suggest that any computer viruses just sprung into existence on their own would they? They’re all designed with a purpose in mind, based upon the original correctly-functioning code.

    As for religions; they used to be based on the laws of nature / laws of physics. They still are at core, but like most else in this world that side of things isn’t taught properly anymore.






  10. Pantagruel March 12, 2008 at 12:19 pm #

    @James C

    I hadn’t thought about the electron Orbits, Niels Bohr jumps into mind.
    But no was just a random rant about statistics. We perform our experiments on at least 3 unique subjects so the likely hood of reaching a significant result will be achieved. (am an Biochemist/biotechnologist by education.)

  11. zupakomputer March 12, 2008 at 1:37 pm #

    Speaking of quantum leaps again – there is a school of thought that uses the concept (similar to electron orbital jumps – they don’t traverse space they just appear in the next orbit) to explain how evolution actually occurs – it sounds sensible to me, cause there just aren’t the examples you’d expect to see of nature trying every possible combination of genetic mutations, in order to arrive at the next adaption (eg – the development of a birds beak over time, in tandem with changing food types – there’s examples of the beaks changing, but not so much any examples where other things change instead; in other words there’s already the knowledge of what parts of the genes need to be altered).

    It’d seem that explantions for intuitive thought-processes require the same kinds of descriptions used for non-local communications in the quantum realm – picture a wireless transmission that works on the same principals as the thought-experiment with the particle that’s split into 3 and each part sent to a different location. When one part is altered the other react instantly, even though they aren’t attached to one another. (I can’t remember the name of this experiment – cheers in advance for any reminders..)

    I know….OT again – but then it’s not really seeing as DNA computers are seriously in development. How ’bout an article on biological computation and quantum computers??? There was a recent news story about a quantum computer that solved problems before they were keyed in (the formula solved them in advance)…these are going to change things cause they aren’t just 1 and 0, they have a state for both 1 AND 0 at the same time…maybe some designs have another for ‘neither 0 nor 1’.

    near-future computers: the above, 40Gb fibre to the home (already running in some lucky places), Colossal Storage, and ultraconductor / superconductor buses….

    nb – another of my fave science things of the moment is that new liquid state that has bizarre properties like it can’t be contained by regular containers – it ‘seeps’ through them.

  12. James C March 12, 2008 at 2:19 pm #

    Strange action at a distance is what Einstein call it (he didn’t believe lots of the fundamentals of Quantum Physic’s). Its called Quantum Entanglement (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_entanglement).

  13. James C March 12, 2008 at 2:26 pm #

    Do you know any place I can get info on current research on immune diseases/disorders.

  14. Pantagruel March 12, 2008 at 4:49 pm #

    @James C

    Go to pubmed.com, type in your search criteria and hopefully get some hits. Unfortunately the bulk of journals will only allow you to see an abstract. Depending on your whereabouts you could scour the web pages of universities, the more well known groups will hav som einfo up on their page.

  15. James C March 12, 2008 at 5:36 pm #

    Much appreciated. Thank you!

  16. zupakomputer March 12, 2008 at 6:00 pm #

    That’s the one!,


  17. eM3rC March 12, 2008 at 11:12 pm #

    This topic has gone off on an amazing digression.

  18. zupakomputer March 17, 2008 at 5:01 pm #

    Must digress further!:

    why are we working for our own obsolescence:




    where I found something:


    spectral ecology:


  19. cpj March 17, 2008 at 7:57 pm #

    hey guys, i saw the posts back and forth on viruses, and just wanted to send out a few comments:

    There is a good reference on retroviruses called Retroviruses by Cold Spring Harbor Lab press. Within is a discussion of the origins and relationships between various retroviruses. It might be interesting for you.

    @James C
    There are several journals for immune diseases. Journal of Immunology is a good one, but it’s mainly for researchers. As I work with HIV-1 and other retroviruses, I look at the Journal of Virology, the leading virology journal as well as others–Retrovirology, Virology, Journal of Molecular Biology, and others.

    I find it hard to believe the general idea that virus groups are a thing of the past because profit has been introduced into the mix. I think they may become more of a local thing with bright kids getting together and “experimenting”, hopefully doing so in a non-malicious way but more than likely infecting their high school or even elementary school computers / ipods / devices.

  20. zupakomputer March 18, 2008 at 1:58 pm #

    Cheers for the link.

    Hopefully yeah experimenting non-maliciously with viruses; after all they can be used to run and deliver useful things, which while possibly illegal are not damaging or abusive.

  21. James C March 18, 2008 at 2:35 pm #

    Thanks for the info, thats exactly what i was looking for.

  22. Navin July 2, 2008 at 9:53 am #

    here we are, speaking about the possibly the gr8est virus-writers, the guys who can claim tht they did it first, the talented, the ……..hey wait, no we’re talking about quasi religious nonsense (as James C puts it)…..hey wait, now its about “A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe” and “The Energy Evolution: Harnessing Free Energy from Nature”…(the first one was a good read BTW haven’t read the 2nd)….hey now its electron orbits and quantum computing….. and now its the EPR paradox and quantum entanglement ( hmm…both related to the uncertainty principle….are we discussing the uncertainty of the VXers coming back??)

    wait…I see the light!! The highway sign reads eM3rC……I need to turn right now!!…oh wait we’re back speaking absolutely unrelated stuff… linking to pages which if read will make me blind ( this one has a pink background for example: http://1010.co.uk/index.html !! sheesh….

    and WOW as well…Right from TRANSFORMERS style biological viruses to quantum computing to what not…..but hey wait a minute… arent we spozed to be talking abt the guys at 29a.net??
    Just asking…..Ignore this if U want to read abt quantum computing

    I just felt tht it’s for these guys tht this post was made:
    The retirement letter from 29a.net:
    “I tried to contact ValleZ for some time in order to take a decission together about the future of 29A with no luck therefore I decided to take the decission alone. And my decission is that 29A goes officially retired. I feel this is fair because I am kinda the alpha and the omega of the group. 29A was born in Dark Node, my BBS, and I am the last active member of the group. My last words as 29A member are for all the people that worked hard to make of this group the best one:

    Thank you very much! Regards, VirusBuster/29A”

  23. Heaven April 3, 2009 at 4:29 pm #

    EOF Will Stay Alife :P