29A is a prominent virus and worm coder group and E-zine. The group's members coded some of the most innovative viruses in history and published them in an Ezine of the same name. While most of the members were relatively unknown at first, they eventually became one of the most famous virus coding groups in the world and are generally agreed to be one of the best. Prominent members and zine contributors include Griyo, Benny, Jacky Qwerty, Vecna, Spanska, Bumblebee, roy g biv, z0mbie, Lord Yup as well as quite a few others. The name comes from the hexadecimal for 666.
The exact date of 29A's founding is currently unknown. In 1995 April, VirusBuster began looking for experts for his Bulletin Board System and that is when most of the original 29A group got into contact. By the end of 1995 there were three permanent participants, Mister Sandman, VirusBuster and Gordon Shumway. They began analysing viruses, looking for bugs in AV products and beginning to compile their findings into the first issue of their magazine. The group met about three times a year in Santiago de Compostela or Madrid.
29A published its first Ezine on 1996.12.13 (a Friday the 13th) at 6:66 (7:06?) am. At this time contributors included Mister Sandman, Gordon Shumway, VirusBuster, Anibal Lecter, AVV, Blade Runner, Griyo, Leugim San, Mr. White, Tcp, The Slug, and Wintermute. The issue contained articles on new viral technologies, new viruses (all were for DOS except for the Galicia Kalidade macro) and disassemblies of other coders' viruses. At the time, their website was http://29A.islatortuga.com.
The second 29A zine was released also on a friday the 13th on 1998.02.13 at 6:66am. In the introduction, Mister Sandman explains the delay and says 29A will not release an issue every year, rather releasing them when they are ready without regard for regularity. This issue included some Windows 32-bit viruses, as well as the multi-platform, multi-processor virus Esperanto.
Over the next several issues, the group expanded rapidly and produced many interesting innovative viruses like Happy99 and Hybris. Issue 6 included around twenty different contributors and viruses for several platforms. Issue 7 saw the departure of Benny who cited the dying VX scene among other things as the reason. Issue 8 was the last issue the group produced in 2005. The group went on a hiatus. One member suggested a forum format as opposed to a zine with semi-regular releases. The idea was never implemented and the group was officially disbanded in 2008 when one member was no longer reaching the other members.
mindw0rk. Bugtraq, "Короли VX-сцены. История группы 29A.". 2006.01.10 (Russian)
VX Heavens. b0z0 "Interview with Mr. Sandman"
Robert Lemos. CNet News, "Newsmaker: He's got the virus-writing bug". 2005.0114
Brian McWilliams. PC World News Radio, CNN, "Virus writers boast about Win 98 virus". 1998.06.25