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A word 'Virus' is enough to make everyone pissed off and scared. The various flavors of it have affected lots of PCs, mobiles and other electronic devices. To combat the side effects, several companies have come up with an antivirus program which can easily be installed on the devices to safeguard it from such attacks.
The virus writers are the careful observers who always look for security vulnerabilities in the system to attack it for some reasons. There are different types of computer viruses which are capable of replicating itself to produce a large number of its family and also destroy the internal functioning of the device completely. Let us dig deep into the history of this computer viruses and see what made everyone to get scared of it.
The idea of a computer virus was first put forward in the late 1940s by a mathematician John von Neumann. He published a paper on this concept by name, ‘Theory of Self-Reproducing Automata' in 1966.
It was just a theoretical experiment on how a piece of code can make the machine behave oddly and damage it, similar to the real world biological virus. Because of this, he is called as the theoretical father of computer virus.
We all know how viruses attack the computer games. It is not the latest issue because the gamers in 1959 also had to face the similar problem. An old computer game by name ‘Core Wars', which was written by Victor Vysottsky, H. Douglas McIlroy and Robert P Morris have been infected by the virus disappointing many users. With a name ‘organisms', it was designed specifically to compete with the processing speed of the computer.
I’m the creeper
The Creeper program is another virus which was created by Bob Thomas of BBN in 1971. This program was designed to check whether a self-replicating program will work. As said, it did not had any malicious intention and just displayed a message- ‘I'M THE CREEPER. CATCH ME IF YOU CAN!'
The rabbits and animals
In 1974, a new virus by name Rabbit (or Wabbit) was created to duplicate itself with no malicious intent. It worked by creating multiple copies of it on the infected PCs quickly and thus reducing the system performance.
Later in 1975, a first Trojan was developed by a computer programmer John Walker giving it a name- ‘ANIMAL'. He wrote a program by name PREVADE to examine the directories present in the victim's PC and then make a copy of it. Even this Trojan is designed to be harmless.
The Brain boot sector
Two brothers, Basit and Amjad Farooq Alvi, who ran a computer store were pissed off with the customers trying to make the illegal copies of their software. This made them create a virus by name Brain in 1986 which replaces the boot sector of a floppy disk with this virus. It did not corrupt any data instead carried a hidden copyright message in it.
Love letter and Heartbleed
In 1995, the viruses started spreading through the emails instead of floppy disks and games. Virus by name ILOVEYOU was created by Onel de Guzman with an intention to overwrite and replace the existing files with its self-copy, which is later used to spread the virus to all the email contacts of the victim.
It consisted of the subject line ‘I Love You,' with an attachment, ‘LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU-TXT.vbs.' Later in 2014, Heartbleed entered the internet world to scare all the netizens. Unlike other viruses, it made use of vulnerabilities in the OpenSSL to access the user data.
Wanna cry and Judy
May 2017 has become the victim of two new online attacks. Ransomware ‘Wannacry' and a malware ‘Judy' is still making noise over the internet. Ransomware is a cyber attack where hackers take control of all data files and make it inaccessible until a ransom of $300 (Rs. 19,221) is paid.
If the victim does not pay in three days, the amount will double and if they fail to pay after seven days, the entire data will get deleted.
Just two days back, a new malware by name 'Judy' made buzz everywhere. It is an auto-clicking adware which was detected on 41 Android apps that generate large amounts of fallacious clicks on advertisements and then generates revenues by it. It is currently infecting millions of Android smartphones worldwide.
This can be considered as a never ending history because the computer viruses get released on a daily basis and it is our responsibility to stay away from them by installing effective antivirus applications.