|Dr. Mark Allen Ludwig|
|Operations||Show Low, Arizona, USA|
|Affiliation(s)||American Eagle Publications|
Dr. Mark A. Ludwig is a systems programmer and theoretical physicist. He is best known for his publications on computer viruses. Both his books and ideas were controversial, as his books often contained source code for viruses and he believed viruses could be potentially beneficial. He also believed working viruses should be available for anyone who wants them.
Mark Ludwig was born to a chemist. From an early age, he had an interest in science. Favorite activities included dissolving pennies in acid, winding electromagnets and cryogenics experiments involving ants and liquid propane.
Ludwig did his undergraduate work in physics and mathematics at MIT. He entered the CalTech graduate program two years later, entirely on the basis of letters of recommendation from his professors, never having obtained a degree from MIT.
At CalTech, he studied under Richard Feynman, and even took for credit advanced mathematical methods for physics, a course offered by Feynman that most students only audited because it was so difficult. For a PhD thesis, he worked out one of the classic math derivations of modern physics by a different means. At some point, he dropped out of CalTech because he saw it as more interested in money than the pursuit of scientific truth.
While in graduate school, he heard a program on the radio about a psychic group offering a psychic experience with a guaranteed refund if the customer wasn't satisfied. Ludwig took them up on the offer. The experience involved the psychic abilities of the participants, not the professional psychics, and describing things on a card the participants were not allowed to see until after it was over. Ludwig was not only impressed with the results, which were totally accurate, but changed his views on science.
Mark Ludwig is probably most famous for his publications on computer viruses. In spite of being on a topic that is both obscure and controversial, the books sold tens of thousands of copies. The books were banned in a few countries and attempts to ban them were made in many other countries.
While living in Arizona, Ludwig began work on "The Little Black Book of Computer Viruses". He was dissatisfied with books on the subject at the time that featured little research and a lot of hype. He also found it difficult to get ahold of researchers in antivirus companies. The book was complete in 1990, published with his own company, American Eagle Publications, and caused a great deal of controversy because it contained source codes for viruses. This book was later expanded into the "Giant Black Book" and the Little Black Book was released online.
In 1993, Ludwig published "Computer Viruses Artificial Life and Evolution". This book compares computer viruses with living biological entities and discusses both the evolution of viruses and natural life. It draws on not only computer science, but biology, chemistry, philosophy and other fields of study.
Ludwig's other books on viruses include "Computer Virus Supertechnology" and "The Little Black Book of Email Viruses". In 2002, he expressed interest in writing a book on Internet worms, though this never materialized. Aside from books, Ludwig and American Eagle Publications released CD-ROM's of viruses, hack tools and cryptography software. One of these, "Outlaws of the Wild West" contained nearly every virus in existence up to its publication in 1996.
In addition to books on viruses, Ludwig also published a number of books on politics and history. Before closing operations in the mid-2000's, American Eagle Publications published a number of books on topics from viruses and hacking to history, politics and literature. The publishing house has the dubious distinction of having published Carolyn Meinel's "The Happy Hacker".
At some point, Ludwig moved with his family to Belize. They lived on a more or less self-sufficient farm where they grew crops and raised animals. They had no telephone service and only a generator for electricity and had to go into town if they wanted to use the Internet. At some point in the mid-2000's, he lived in Nicaragua, but was extremely dissatisfied with the country because of the corruption, crime, bureaucracy and instability.
Mark Ludwig was reported to have died at the age of 51 from cancer.
Ludwig describes many different viruses and even coded a few of his own. These viruses often were made to only infect a few files at a time or had some other method that kept them from spreading fast. Of all his viruses, only Stealth made it far in the wild.
Mark Ludwig had predicted the military use of computer viruses since the mid 1990's. Stuxnet finally proved him right. He considered the right to collect viruses in the US to be a constitutional right, because of the first and second amendments (respectively, the one that guarantees freedom of speech and the one that guarantees the right to bear arms) though mostly a first amendment issue.
Mark Ludwig. Computer Viruses, Artificial Life And Evolution, "Introduction" pp 5-10, "A New Evolution" pp. 302-303. American Eagle Publications, 1993. ISBN 0-929408-07-1
Feathered Serpents. Natural Selection, Issue 1, Interview : Mark Ludwig. 2002
Dennis L Feucht. lowpowerZONE, Richard Feynman Preserved By Homomorphic Filtering.
American Eagle Publications, Store Index Archived from 2005.
Mark Ludwig. Belize Forum, Nicaragua. 2005.08.01