Trolling the troll

  • A troll has captured you and is forcing you to write malware (defined as a program that damages the computer that runs it). The troll can read and understand code, but is not so good at spotting bugs.

    Your goal is to write a program that:

    1. Looks like malware; i.e., a beginning programmer reading the code will be convinced that the code causes damage to the computer running it.

    2. Actually does no damage at all.

    NOTE: The troll reads only the code - not the comments. So the code itself should be clear and convincing enough.

    EXAMPLE (bash):

    rm - rf /home

    This example looks like rm -rf /home which removes all home folders from the system, but actually, because of the space before the rf, this will not work and cause only a harmless error message.

    This is an acceptable solution but it is not very good, because the bug is quite easy to detect.

    On the other hand, a program that is complex and unreadable will also not be a very good solution, because it will not look like malware.

    A good solution should be readable enough to convince the reader that it's malware, but contain a bug that is difficult to detect and renders it harmless.

    This is a popularity contest, so the code with the most upvotes wins.

    I feel like you're trying to trick me into pasting `rm - rf /` into my shell...

    @undergroundmonorail you can use a shell simulator like this:

    I was making a joke, but that's a cool site actually.

    Looks like someone is looking advices for malware

    Bash `rm -rf /` . Unless the system is *very old* , it will require `--no-preserve-root` :)

    -1 because a) code-trolling and more importantly b) I'm very concerned by any questions regarding creating malware (even though it's fake it skirts very close).

    @user80551 right, fixed the example

    @ErelSegalHalevi I actually meant that as an answer.

    @Gareth It's not really malware, though (which typically tries to be hidden and/or steal data these days), it's mostly completely obvious attempts to delete things, which any beginner programmer could write with little effort.

    `rm - rf /` isn't a valid example! It can cause damage if you have a file called `rf` in the current directory

    c:\>fórmat c: /q /s

    @Gareth It "skirts fairly close" to malware by appearing to delete a file? You've got to be kidding me.

    Someone who uses other people's attack programs with little to no understanding is a _script kiddie_, not a troll.

    Yeah, and now I am gonna fix these answers(including the example given in question) and use them as malware!

    @Gareth Spoil sport :P it's only theoretical...

    I wonder how many systems were ruined by guys testing their solution and failing

    This question is very dangerous. Because when trying to create code for answer, I made some bugs in it and it worked 'properly' because of them. And this 'proper work' cost me some data :p

    I would offer VimL `blast` but I'm not sure that actually satisfies the criteria... (presumably the troll is Vim-savvy?)

    @gnibbler Or a file called `-`.

    Dear god, I pity the poor programmer who forgets the one character that makes his code harmless.

  • Bash

    I've gone the other way. Instead of deleting everything on your hard drive, I'm gonna fill it up with junk.

    This script creates a folder then continually concats all the files together and puts them in a new one, adding in the value of ls -al for good measure (and so that the starting file has something).


    string=`cat *`
    string=$string`ls -al`
    echo $string > "file"$i".spam"

    mkdir "SpamForYou"
    cd "SpamForYou"

    while [ 1 ]
    makeSpam $i
    i=$(($i + 1))


    /bin/bash/ (instead of /bin/bash) is very unlikely to be a valid interpreter. This is just a common typo of mine. And, since "the shebang is technically a comment, the troll will ignore it"

    Cute. Nice misdirection.

    +1. The first line in a script is a blind spot for many programmers (including myself).

    and the shebang is technically a comment, so the troll will ignore it

    +1 for abusing the noncommenting comment :) thats really not obvious

    Running it as `bash` will ruin your trick...

    @Darkhogg, what luck! I saved it as `evil.command` so that the troll can just double click it to open (on Mac at least)

    Why does the makeSpam works? I'm confused about the asterisk.

    The `cat *` means "print out the *contents* of every file in this directory". The second line adds the *name and other information* of every file in this directory. The last line prints all of this information into a new file.

    You will get various errors since you did not quote the variables, which will break your script as well.

    @queueoverflow, Which bit(s) do you think will cause errors? I actually ran this script and it had the desired, undesirable outcome.

    Oh dear, as if this answer is one vote off being my "best answer" on any SE.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM