The file size was exactly 666 kilobytes. The name of the file was stn.dll, and it was a computer virus, although it wasn’t a type of virus I have ever encountered before. Well, that is until about 3 years ago, and I guess I should start from there. I know that this is a long email, but before you think I’m crazy I should probably begin from the start. I don’t know if you entirely remember me, but I hope you do. I think you’re the last person I could actually tell this to, if I live, well, we won’t even see each other anymore. If I die, it doesn’t matter, just so you know not to open that damned file. I want you to know that things happen that never should. Things exist that I wish never did. I’m near the brink of death, I can sense it. This is my sixth attempt at sending you the email, I’m certain it won’t work. This is the last thing I do before… it finally gets me. I’m sending you this on January 12th, 2004. I wish you don’t get this too late. I don’t want anyone else knowing about the file, there are certain consequences that I will explain to you today. Here I go, from the beginning.
When I was younger, I’ve always wanted to be a software engineer. I was vastly intrigued by the language, C++. When I wasn’t coding up my own software, I was looking through other people’s files, mostly small things like notepad and Microsoft Word type programs. I would go through things such as the dll files, and would decompile the files. This was often a very hard task, but I was determined to learn from professional programmers by analyzing their source code. I’ve downloaded several programs illegally, I’ll admit. The only thing I truly regret will come in the next few years.
Either way, I first encountered stn.dll when I was rummaging through a program’s files, looking for something to decompile and study. It was a small program, it only had four dll files and a few raw image files. I’m not entirely sure what the program did, every time I tried to run the main executable, the whole thing would break and the program would crash. Either way, I was still determined to see what kind of code was living inside the files, so I brought up my decompiler to decompile the dlls, and began with the first one. The first dll file, aids.dll, was mostly empty, only 10 kilobytes. The odd thing was, there wasn’t any source code in it, only variable declarations. I still don’t know what the purpose for that was, but I continued to the next dll, entitled herps.dll, with the same results. The third dll file, std.dll, was obviously nothing more than a joke; I could tell whoever made these dlls was most likely an arrogant teen who found humor in naming their files after sexual diseases. I was about to close up and go to bed, when I noticed that there was another file, stn.dll. I didn’t really want to open it up, it takes a long time to decompile a dll file. However, there were a few oddities about the file.
The name, stn.dll was somewhat uncomforting, seeing as the one who supposedly wrote the program liked rather sexual names. Then, there was the fact that the information behind the file didn’t match the others. The author information, the date created, there were stark differences, almost as if the dll file wasn’t made by the same person who made the others. And then there was the fact that the file size was exactly 666 kilobytes, it just doesn’t get weirder than that, especially since the other file sizes were at a maximum 10 kilobytes. I decided to just decompile it and look at the results in the morning.
It was encrypted, meaning even at a decompiled state, I couldn’t read it. I just decided to leave it on a flash drive, and have since forgotten about it. I wish I have forgotten about it forever. Fast forward about four years later, and I’ve become the software engineer I’ve dreamed of. I had a house, and had a steady job ever since I got out of my two year trade school. I had my own office up on the second story of my house, and that’s where I saw myself working through the dark hours of the day, writing software for big companies, and even found myself hacking and writing my own games. It was a small hobby of mine, but a small detail
I remember the thunderstorm that had reunited me with stn.dll, it was a tough one. The sky was black, the rain was hard, it was a violent storm. I was working on some software for you, if you recall. I think you were one of my first managers after moving here, and that’s why I’m emailing you right now. I simply recall that I was finishing up some of the database networking when the black-out occurred. The house shook violently, the lights burned out, and I knew that we had been hit by lightning. My immediate reaction was to head up to the attic, I didn’t call the firefighters or the cops. I know, stupid choice, but at the time I wanted to make sure nothing caught on fire. So I headed up there and began looking through the attic. No fire, but there was a chunk of the roof blown completely off, as it seemed. The wind howled as I stood there, in the dim light of the attic. I recall getting goose-bumps, but not from the cold, it was because the attic had a very eerie feel to it.
Anyways, I remember getting really pissed off as soon as I understood the situation, I have finished up the database and forgot to save, and it was late at night, so I really wasn’t in the mood to continue working on it. I moved myself over to the place in the roof where the lightning had hit. The light shone in from the moon, and the rain was falling heavily onto a small box right under the hole in the roof. On that box, was a flash drive. Yes, that one, the one with stn.dll on it. A sense of nostalgia had flooded me, I remember trying to decompile it as an eager teen, and seeing as how I really didn’t feel like finishing up that database again, I took the flash drive and shoved it into my pocket.
Now that I think of it, I think the lightning must’ve hit that thing directly, the flash drive was definitely exposed to the rain. My excitement got a hold of me at the time, it’s only at this time that I think about these oddities. It creeps me out thinking about it, but let me continue with the story, if you don’t mind.
I inserted the flash drive into the computer. Forgetting the computer was off, I inserted the flash drive into the monitor, and then the computer started right up. That was… rather odd. The computer turned on after I inserted the flash drive. I jumped, almost falling off the chair. It didn’t turn up slowly like a windows xp would normally. It literally spent a second on the startup splash before skipping the login screen, and then came to the desktop. Then, the folder popped up asking me what I wanted to do with the flash drive. Upon moving my mouse, the speakers of the computer hissed a loud static noise, and I jumped. It did this whenever I moved my mouse, I just figured it was from the blackout.
Upon thinking about the blackout, I got up to try to turn on the lights of the room. They wouldn’t come on. I began to feel slightly strange that the computer was the only thing working in the house at the time, and the speed in which it turned on was slightly unsettling. Now that I think about it, it seemed almost as if the computer didn’t want to wait to show me the unearthly surprises hidden within stn.dll.
I took all the files from the flash drive, and put them in a new folder. I entitled the folder stn_fldr, and then logged off my computer to go to sleep for a while.
The next morning, I awoke to a shock; my flash drive was no longer plugged into my computer. In fact, further inspection of the office found that the flash drive wasn’t even in the room. I didn’t think it really mattered, my files were on the flash drive, so I was alright with losing the flash drive. I turned on my computer again, only to see that the folder previously entitled stn_fldr, was now stn_fldr.exe. I was utterly confused, the folder became… an.. Executable!?
I’m a programmer as you know, I’m aware that it takes some serious hacking to do something like that. Leaving a turned off computer alone the whole night couldn’t possibly change file formats at such a low level.. Could it?
I instantly did a virus scan and my antivirus told me that there was a trojan virus in a file called stn.dll… but that wasn’t possible! The dll file had transformed the whole file into an executable, meaning that all dll files in that folder no longer existed, including stn.dll! I was confused, and I didn’t want to run the file. I couldn’t, it was beginning to scare me. I wasn’t afraid that there was a virus on my computer, it was more of the type of fear you get when you feel the presence of something paranormal.
Well, I’d rather not bore you with the details, so I’ll just say that weeks gone by and I haven’t tried running the executable. Why would I? The anti-virus told me that the executable was a virus, more or less. I did think about the dll file quite a lot, I tried deleting the file but whenever I turned on the computer, I always found an excuse not to. I would check face book or my email, and then forget why I was on the computer, and log off or begin programming. I wondered whether or not I got a virus from the web that was dormant until I inserted the flash drive, but then again the folder changed while the computer was turned off overnight.
Eventually, these thoughts were too much for me. The executable changed file size several times of the course of the weeks, first it was 100 kilobytes, then 321 kilobytes, and then 453 kilobytes. Finally, it was 666 kilobytes. The night that this happened, I remember waking up to a roar of thunder, although the night sky was completely barren. There was something in the air keeping me from falling asleep, I began to think of stn.dll. Something was urging me to run the executable. Something was telling me to do it, perhaps it was my own subconscious, or even the conscious of another being.
Now, this email is getting rather long, I’ve got to cut it to another email. Please reply so that I know that you’re getting this, I hope this gets to you successfully. As I’ve said, this is my sixth time attempting to send this.