Annelid: Unwelcome, Replicating, Evasive, Self-Healing Infrastructure

Hey Friends!

I was recently watching a historical documentary about computer security in the late 80’s, the subject of the film was an eleven year old kid who’s virus crashed 1507 machines in a single day (including Wall Street trading systems), and the toll it took on his life afterwards.

I found the documentary absolutely riveting and thought I’d explore the topic in our favorite language.

Hence, Annelid, an Elixir experiment in “evasive, self-healing infrastructure”.

Patient zero is a local Elixir node, it infects the rest of the cluster simply by connecting to it.


It’s designed to keep a low profile while maintaining a presence on every node in the cluster. If an operator manages to kill it, it restarts. If a node is restarted, another node in the cluster re-infects it. As far as I can tell, the only way to properly stop it is to halt the entire cluster.

It doesn’t come with a payload, obviously.

We’re all pretty aware that disterl ports should be firewalled off, cookies shouldn’t be exposed publicly, and eval is a horrible thing, so this isn’t a real security concern in my mind. It’s just a fun toy solely for the amusement of folks on the forum to play with. That being said, please keep it far away from production infrastructure. :slight_smile:


The scary thing is a competent team can breach any target

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You say Annelid is not valid for any purpose, but I think it actually is. A system like this could be amazing for algorithms that require consensus among nodes. It doesn’t matter if a node fails, it always gets consistent eventually.

And it rotates the locks, to further prevent the impact and chances of failure. Love it!

I think there is potential here for real use cases. The one thing I wouldn’t bring though is the obfuscation. I always want the messages in my systems to be crystal clear :smiley:


Well, “not valid for any purpose” is really just bedroll-lawyer for “don’t sue me”.

I’d love to see what you come up with if you get into it. :slight_smile:


MIT license should be enough for that :wink:

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Totally, but felt worth repeating. :man_shrugging: