Are computer viruses created by the antivirus software companies?

I have a friend who is unofficially my tech-support guru. Any time I have serious computer problems, he comes over and does for free what the shop he works for would charge a hundred dollars or more for. The last time he was over here, he told me that in the early days of computer viruses, it was indeed twisted individual programmers, but now many spyware and virus programs are actually created by the same companies who make the anti-virus software.

Now, this sounds like a conspiracy theory to me, a variation of the idea that AIDS was created by evil scientists or some similar concept. But this guy is a pretty knowledgeable and logical person - and, he’s employed at a computer shop and making 15 dollars an hour, plus has a side business selling CPU parts and restored machines, at 20 years old. So something tells me he knows a lot about computers, and wouldn’t just make something like this up.

Is there any truth to what he said? I’d hate to think that there are software companies who are greedy and evil :eek:

The lines “20 years old” and “$15 an hour” set off my first alarm bells. My IT-co. brother-in-law (in his 30s) and his partner (in his 40s) do what your young lad does, only for ten times as much money, and I’ve never heard any such nonsense from them --and I think I would; I hear about tons of other hacks they have to fend off in their daily work.

I vote for major hogwash. (And I love a good conspiracy theory.)

No. There’s no need. Hundreds of viruses are released each month. Why would the antivirus companies have to spend the time and effort when people are doing it for free?

And do you really think that if McAfee were doing this, their competitors wouldn’t be blowing the whistle on them?

Now, some antispyware software has spyware in it and will infect your computer if you try to clean it, but that’s a different issue. But McAfee, Symantec, Sophos, Grisoft, Avast!, and all the other antivirus firms have absolutely no reason to bother creating viruses: they do just fine letting others create them.

I’m sure this was what he was talking about then.

No he wasn’t. He was talking about virus protection companies creating the viruses. How do I know that? Because I have heard it a dozen times before from various crackpots and it isn’t true for the reasons stated above.