An example of a computer system affected by MEMZ displaying one of the malware's key payloads, a 'screen tunnelling' effect.
MEMZ was originally created by Leurak for YouTuber danooct1's Viewer-Made Malware series. It was later featured by Joel Johannson, alias Vargskelethor, a member of the live-streaming group Vinesauce, who demonstrated the trojan in action against a Windows 10 virtual machine after being provided with a copy by danooct1. The virus gained notoriety for its unique and complex payloads, which automatically activate after each other, some with delay. Examples of payloads include randomly moving the mouse cursor slightly, opening up satirical Google searches such as "how 2 remove a virus" and "minecraft hax download no virus" on the user's web browser, and opening various random Microsoft Windows programs (such as the calculator or command prompt). True to the program's name, many parts of the virus are based on Internet memes; for example, the virus overwrites the boot sector with an animation of Nyan Cat. A benign version was later created by Leurak. This safe version allows toggling on and off specific payloads and will not overwrite the boot sector upon restart.
A variant of MEMZ, dubbed "VineMEMZ", was coded by Leurak as a gift to Johannson after the livestream featuring the original MEMZ gained significant traction. This version of MEMZ is similar to the original, but features many references to Vinesauce, especially Johannson's other game streams, such as the bootleg game 7 Grand Dad and the adware program BonziBuddy. This variant has also been released to the public.
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