Is one of the world’s oldest viruses haunting the Bitcoin Blockchain?

Is one of the world's oldest viruses haunting the Bitcoin Blockchain? If you’re an IT greybeard you might recall the Stoned virus.

It first appeared in 1987 at the University of Wellington, New Zealand, infecting floppy disks and the partition sector of hard disks.

If your PC was infected with Stoned then every write-enabled floppy disk that you accessed could also become a carrier for the virus, which was taken around the globe by sneakernet.

If you were silly enough to leave an infected floppy disk in your A: drive, and turn on your computer it would try to boot up from the floppy, and become infected by the Stoned virus in the process.

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Normally there would be no visual clue of an infection.

Non-system disk or disk error

But one in every eight times that you booted an infected PC, you might find yourself greeted with the message:

Your PC is now Stoned!

What the Stoned virus *didn’t* do, however, was infect files.

So, it’s fairly easy to conclude that the Stoned virus warning reported by some users of Microsoft Security Essentials is a false alarm.

Message on Microsoft forum

Earlier today, a virus signature from the virus “DOS/STONED” was uploaded into the Bitcoin blockchain, which allows small snippets of text to accompany user transactions with bitcoin. Since this is only the virus signature and not the virus itself, there apparently is no danger to users in any way. However, MSE recognizes the signature for the virus and continuously reports it as a threat, and every time it deletes the file, the bitcoin client will simply re-download the missing blockchain.

The truth is that the Stoned virus hasn’t infected the Bitcoin Blockchain, and you are no risk of infecting your computer with the Stoned virus.

Of course, knowing it is a false alarm may stop some users from panicking, but it doesn’t stop the incorrect anti-virus warning that’s popping up from being any less of a nuisance to those people who have a copy of the Bitcoin blockchain.

Let’s hope that Microsoft fixes its false alarm soon, and stops looking for 25-year-old boot sector viruses in files that it cannot infect.

Via: The Register.


Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

2 comments on “Is one of the world’s oldest viruses haunting the Bitcoin Blockchain?”

  1. Coyote

    Ah yes… good old Stoned virus. I think the first one I saw ITW was Monkey (not sure which version as that too was long ago). A classic mistake this is indeed. I should not be surprised yet I still find it hard to fathom… But at the same time, at least it provides one kind of time 'travel', for those interested in such a thing. Yes, let's hope this mistake is fixed sooner than later as false positives are obnoxious in their own way (one hopes too that said antivirus doesn't try to then make the computer 'safe', by say, trying to remove Stoned).

  2. drsolly

    I remember Microsoft Antivirus

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