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I noticed that a couple of sci-fi shows refer to a computer virus named "Avenger". I doubt this is a coincidence, and suspect they're referring to something, possibly real or possibly fictional. The two references I've seen to this are:

  • The Stargate SG-1 episode Avenger 2.0, in which a computer virus disables the Milky Way Stargate Network.
  • In the Person of Interest episode Zero Day, a computer virus has disabled The Machine. Root asks Finch if he "Avengered" The Machine, making it clear that she's referring to some event or story they'd both know.

I'm looking for that original real-world event, or fictional story. What are these two different computer-virus-centric plots referencing?

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    'Dark Avenger' was a famous virus/creator in the 1990s, and considered the first polymorphic one in the wild. Don't be sure it's a literary reference.
    – Solemnity
    Commented May 4, 2013 at 1:02
  • @Solemnity Thanks for the tip, now that you point it out, both shows have conceit that they take place in the modern day real world, so it is possible this is a real life historical reference. I've edited the question accordingly. Can you post an answer that describes Dark Avenger?
    – user1027
    Commented May 4, 2013 at 5:12

1 Answer 1

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In SG-1, Felger says the virus is named after a comic book character he used to read when he was a kid

Hammond: Avenger?

Felger: That's what I call the virus. You know, it's named after a comic book I read when I was a kid. The Amazing Avenger? Green tights, purple cape? He's super strong, super fast. Though not as fast as the Flash, that would be ridiculous. Course, this isn't ringing any bells with anyone, is it?

Bit of useless trivia, they printed a comic for this episode with the Amazing Avenger that looked like the director Martin Wood (one of many, many director self-inserts on Stargate), but didn't use it until an Atlantis episode later on, where it was shown in the background as one of Lt. Ford's personal belongings.

As Solemnity said, Dark Avenger was a Bulgarian hacker in the 80s and 90s and is probably the inspiration for the Person of Interest reference. I haven't seen the episode so I don't know how the virus works in there, but Dark Avenger's most famous eponymous virus systematically infected new files over time and overwrote parts of the computer's memory.

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