Multipartite Viruses

Multipartite viruses have a dual personality. Some are file viruses that can infect system sectors; others are system sector infectors that can infect files.

Some viruses can be all things to all machines. Depending on what needs to be infected, they can infect system sectors or they can infect files. These rather universal viruses are termed multipartite (multi-part). Some multipartite viruses can even infect multiple target platforms and operating systems, although this is rare.

Sometimes the multipartite virus drops a system sector infector; other times a system sector infector might also infect files.

Multipartite viruses are particularly nasty because of the number of ways they can spread. Fortunately, a good one is hard to write.

Ghostball was the first multipartite virus, discovered by Fridrik Skulason in October 1989.


  • Multipartite viruses have dual capabilities and typically infect both system sectors and files.
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