Even virus writers have a sense of humor.

Normally there’s not much to laugh about when you’re talking computer viruses, but it’s easy to forget that the people who write them are normal humans and can have a sense of humor. Take for example the W32.Hoots virus that has been making the rounds lately. For a virus it’s not particularly destructive, though it is somewhat wasteful. When the virus infects your PC, in addition to trying to spread itself to other machines via various network shares, it tries to print a picture to any printers connected to said PC—that picture being the O’RLY owl image you see in the upper right—and that’s about all it does. If you are a business with a lot of vulnerable machines on your network and a lot of printers then this could end up wasting a lot of paper, but otherwise it appears to be pretty harmless.

The reason I find this amusing is because it’s an awful lot of work to engage in just to propagate a silly Internet meme. Of course it helps the humor factor if you know what the O’Rly meme actually is:

O RLY?, short for “Oh, really?” is a popular Internet meme, typically presented as an image macro. The usual conversation flow starts with O RLY?, triggering a YA RLY response, and then ending with NO WAI!!! (though sometimes OIC is used instead). An additional exchange of SRSLY? SRSLY! or YA WAI… may follow.

O RLY? is typically used in a sarcastic or sardonic manner: it may be used to mock AOL speak or indicate that the original post was blatantly obvious. One may also troll by posting O RLY? in response to a lengthy post.

That text macro they were talking about? It looks like this:


The meme has become so popular in some places that it annoys the living shit out of a lot of people due to it’s frequency of use and it can get you banned from some message forums. The virus with it’s potential to print hundreds of copies of the O’Rly owl in a business environment for no good reason would also probably be highly annoying thusly maintaining the tradition.

OK, maybe it’s just me, but I thought it was funny.

10 thoughts on “Even virus writers have a sense of humor.

  1. OK, maybe it’s just me, but I thought it was funny.

    I thought so too, and I have no idea what you’re talking about – I was stuck in the groove of … Pardon me for jumping into hyperspace but could it have anything to do with the joke of, in the unconscious flow to, Bill O’Rielly?
    Forget it. Too much of a leap. Blame the drugs, and the galon of ‘hard’ liquor my mate forced me into taking from his hands. LOL

  2. OK, maybe it’s just me, but I thought it was funny.

    O RLY?

    Sorry, couldn’t resist…

  3. OK, maybe it’s just me, but I thought it was funny.

    Erm, it is just you!

    Sorry couldn’t resist…

  4. Nah, I still like the fact that it’s beginning to reinvent itself (even as a virus, the thought is unusually funny).

  5. Proof that not all hackers are half-crazed destroyers that steal data to make a living.  Deprived maybe……no WAI!!

  6. One may also troll by posting O RLY? in response to a lengthy post.

    This reminds me of something I read once, don’t remember where.  A man dreams that he meets all the great philosophers of history, starting with Plato, and one after another they present their ideas to him.  After each philosopher is done, our dreamer replies witheringly and unanswerably, the same thing each time.  He is so excited that he wakes up long enough to write down this reply, and then goes to sleep again.  In the morning, he finds scribbled on a scrap of paper “That’s what you say”.

  7. O RLY? and YA RLY! came from 4chan, an imageboard with thousands of posters. The original macro may have come from Fark, or another site but it was made popular on /b/, 4chan’s “everything goes” board. Since many 4channers are members of other forums the meme spread. It has gotten to the point many people who use the meme have no idea of it’s origins, and would be quite shocked if they actually went to 4chan.

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