A guest post about computer viruses.
Call them what you want: viruses, worms, malicious software or Trojans. Really, it is all one and the same thing. And, just as with human viruses, the amount of viruses that exist are on the increase. Identity thieves, spammers and hackers are constantly look for new and innovative ways to get into other people’s computers, clean out their bank account or spread mayhem across the digital highway, just for the fun of it.
There are some viruses that are created only to show that it is possible to create them, but if they end up in the wrong hands, there will be a serious problem. Let’s look at the ten worst viruses of all times. Amusingly enough, many of these viruses have quite pleasant names. But don’t be fooled by their appearance! Bet you will run a virus scan over your computer after reading this.
The Morris Worm
The Morris Worm was created by Robert Morris, who aptly named the virus after himself. This took place in 1998, when Morris was still at university. His worm managed to affect 10% of all computers across the world that were connected to the internet.
All these computers were slowed down to a complete halt. Luckily, in 1998, only some 60,000 computers were hooked up, but imagine what it would do now.
The Concept Virus
The Concept Virus was another great one. This one took place in 1995 and was actually caused by Microsoft. Naturally, it was an accident, but it only took a few days for it to become the worst virus ever. This is because it affected Word documents, and people easily share these over the internet.
The Chernobyl Virus
The Chernobyl Virus goes live every year on the 26th of April, which is the anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. It was written by Chen Ing Hau, who has since been arrested in Taiwan. If you find your computer doesn’t work specifically on this day, you will know what’s happened to it.
The Anna Kournikova Worm
Jan de Wit, a Dutch man who stalked the tennis player Anna Kournikova, was the creator of this particular worm. A picture of Anna would be received by those affected, in essence then stopping them from being able to use their computer. De Wit was arrested and served a community sentence.
ILOVEYOU or the Love Bug is a particular bad guy. In May 2000, millions of internet users suddenly received ILOVEYOU messages. These messages would then forward automatically to all people in that user’s address book. The creator, from the Philippines, wanted to gain internet access through the virus.
The Melissa Virus
Melissa was the brainchild of David L Smith. He wrote this to honour his favourite stripper from Florida. It was the very first virus to be successful through email aware. It inserted a Simpsons quote in any Word document. Smith was arrested and jailed because the damage he cost was estimated to be over $80 million.
Netsky and Sasser
Netsky and Sasser was written by a German teenager, Sven Jaschan. As it turns out, he was actually responsible for around three quarters of the malware that was available on the internet. Interestingly, he was caught but was spared jail. He was then hired by a prominent security company who still employs him to this day as an “ethical hacker”.
Storm Worm was a very interesting virus that caught many people unawares. This is because it presented itself as a breaking news alert, warning people of seriously bad weather hitting Europe. It infected millions of users, who became the victims of spamming campaigns (at best) or stolen identity (at worst).
You are right to be worried about all these bad programs out there. However, with McAfee antivirus installed on your computer, you should be almost entirely safe.