Two researchers from the University of Texas have built a rather clever little virus that scours its host computer for code it can use, taking snippets from existing software to perform any tasks it's been ordered to complete -- sounds a heck of a lot like Skynet to me.
The clever bit about the self-building code is the way it appears different each time it's found on a computer. Thanks to assembling itself from alternate code on each system, it could confound virus checkers by appearing as a new creation each time, even if the chores it's been tasked with achieve the same result.
If turned to evil, the virus has the potential to secretly occupy computers by seeing what software is permissible in the environment, then cobbling together what it needs from whatever resources it finds, be that an ancient copy of Internet Explorer 6 or Wordpad's copy and paste facility. [New Scientist via Geekosystem]
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