Assimilation viruses are a form of virus which can infect an intelligent infotech life-form and ultimately turn it into a subroutine of that entity which created the virus.
Though the first forms were entirely limited to virch sophonts, the most recent versions on record can infect virches, AI and even vecs and cyborgs. The results are generally the same. The infected sophont becomes a part of the controller's (generally virch or AIs) mind and loses all sense of self. The first known assimilation viruses were created as a result of an accident by the early federation period hacker-clade, the Virchsmiths. Originally the Virchsmiths were designing expansion software for a virch micro-polity called Binaria. The software would have allowed the growing polity to create a virch-world about as big as the Sol system was in real life. But instead the software began turning the sophont virches into extensions of Binaria First Citizen 00100. (All Binaria citizens were given a binary-like designation.) Eventually the Virchsmiths were able to contain the software (which was now like a virus), but not before over two-thirds of Binaria had become a huge virch entity called 01.
Eventually both the Virchsmiths and Binaria became lost in the annals of history. (Although a large virch/AI clade called the Codesmiths exist as a Metasoft allied polity to this day.) However by the end of the federation era, assimilation viruses were becoming a major problem. Whether all viruses developed from the original virus or were unrelated creations has never been known. But it is known that the problems posed were sufficient to convince the rising Sephirotics to outlaw assimilation viruses from the start. During the Version War numerous incidents have been attributed to assimilation viruses, especially the subversion of higher toposophic AI. Some have proved, most have not.
Currently assimilation viruses are still a major problem, especially with the recent number of hostile high toposophic perversions and blights. Though it has not been proven, many believe that the Amalgamation uses some form(s) of highly advanced assimilation viruses controlled by a very high toposophic entity. Also every now and then a transapient will suddenly release a host of assimilation viruses into the Known Net, causing eir consciousness to expand and occupy large areas of cyberspace. Currently there are believed to be as many half a billion different types of assimilation virus on the Known Net.
However not all sophonts consider assimilation viruses to be a problem. In fact there are virch and AI clades that have adapted less infectious viruses in order to converge into a single being or become a part of a higher toposophic entity. However the number of such clades is relatively small compared to those who see the viruses as a threat. Assimilation viruses are the often the most common weapon in virch warfare.
AI Virus - Text by M. Alan Kazlev A sentient replicator and intrusion entity, usually superturing, SI:1 or greater. Although an ai virus is often vir, it does not have to be so; e.g. it could use or appropriate a rl body, or vehicle, or swarm.
Deadite Nanovirus - Text by Ben Higginbottom Extremely clever prank nanovirus (actually a gengineered biological virus) - entirely cosmetic. Gives victims the appearance of a zombie. Created by cult of the exsanguinated giraffe bionanohackers during the early interplanetary period, based on trilogy of C20 flatscreens. Although easily cured, it become fashionable among several subcultures. Compare with Bar Sim Sun.
Sophtware - Text by Todd Drashner Colloquial term used to describe sophont to transapient level software based lifeforms whether of virtual, ai, or upload origin. Sophtware entities are usually characterized as not being limited to a single dedicated processor to support their minds but instead operating as mobile blocks of self-referential code able to transfer themselves over information networks and among any group of processing substrates designed to accommodate them.
Translator Virus - Text by John B Translator Virus, to sow confusion and spark wars by altering the translations between clades. Memetic engineering that was done off-the-cuff at the 3rd Habitat Conference and has grown past its bounds. The translators worked perfectly - it's just that none of the sides liked the other sides' views. And thus, they blamed the translators.