Interview with Alan Solomon
by Dark Fiber

heya Alan,

Lots of interviews exist with virus writers, yet few exist with those on the av side of the fence, so I was wondering if I could throw some questions at you? I'm going to try and get some from other AV people too, and they will be put in Insane Reality #8, that is, if you do answer, and agree to let me put them in it.... If you did agree to answer the questions and didn't mind them being put in IR#8, I don't plan on commenting anything you say, nor alter anything and so on.

OK; I'd like it if you could email me a couple of copies of your newsletter.

Who are you exactly? Introduce yourself.

What did you get your doctorate in?

How many years have you been part of the anti virus scene?

What first got you started in it? Did you start out writing a stoned remover at university like everyone else?

Its believed that you 'head hunted' with Scotland Yard for Christopher Pile. How big was your role in his prosecution?

I know you've told me before, but could you sum up exactly why you played your part the way you did.

Your still a programmer, with 50 odd people in the R&D department, so what part do you play in programming the toolkit at present? or do you just do the boring virus analysis?

How many viruses per month would you receive?

Do you see this number increasing or decreasing over the coming months, to a year?

IMO the virus scene has been in major decline and is still going, Have sales of your AV products increased or decreased?

I know your company produces an Audit program or something (Gee great research on my part neh? :), do you feel the need to branch out into other programming streams in order to keep S&S going?

In some email to me you wrote of future things such as a Macro heuristic engine, now with future trends pointing towards the interpreted text form of www\java, do you feel that the text type style of macro virus, compared to the traditional executable binary style of virus, will play a much bigger role?

If you could change anything about the Anti-Virus industry, what would it be?

Ditto for the virus industry (Assuming there cannot be one without the other and that both will always exist)

Approximately how many hours of man-power would you say has gone into the development of the tool kits heuristic engine?

Do you have any future plans computer wise beyond viruses? ie: Interactive Fiction with Graham? back to Fortran stuff?

Do you feel the window into anti virus programming is still open or has the ship left the dock already, its too steep a learning curve for beginners?

If the anti virus people went by handles, what would you call yourself?

There has been a lot of noise about your White elephant and Mahout(?) lately, do you have a Froobious Bandersnatch you could ship down here ^_^

Anything you wish to add or comment opon?