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The Cybec Foundation

The History of VET

 

Explanation of technical terms

From an early VET manual

In March 1989 Roger Riordan was lecturing at the Chisholm Institute of Technology (now Caulfield campus, Monash University), when the computer labs became infected with the Stoned virus. This virus was not intended to be harmful, but several labs at Chisholm had non-standard PC's, and when these were infected by the virus it destroyed everything on their hard disks. It took the technicians 20 minutes to reinstal all the software, but the next student could wipe it again in 30 seconds. So the College had a problem.

Roger obtained a sample of the virus, analysed it, and wrote a program to remove it. He called the program VET, because you vet a document for errors. He designed VET so that the students could disinfect their own computers at home, and gave it to them as shareware. Several more less harmful viruses were almost immediately found to be lurking in the Institute's computers, and as each was found Roger added it to the repertoire of viruses VET could remove.

The program soon became popular, as the students gave it to their parents, and they in turn gave it to their employers. At the end of the year sufficient money was coming in for Roger to feel that he could retire from Chisholm. He thought VET would provide some useful pocket money for his retirement, but the initial trickle of viruses turned into a steady stream, and then into a torrent. The initial trickle of orders grew to match, and more and more staff were added to cope with the ever-growing workload, until by 1999 Cybec was employing 90 people around the world.

Then Cybec approached Computer Associates Inc. to act as their American agents, but they countered with an offer to buy VET, and as Roger was approaching 65 he decided to accept. A large part of the proceeds went to the staff under the Company's profit-sharing scheme, and most of the remainder was set aside for charitable purposes.

 

Cybec sold VET to Computer Associates in 1999, and no longer has any connection with VET.

 

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