Thursday, March 17, 2011

40 Years of Viruses

January 2011 Statistics of Computers Worldwide



            Is your computer sick? Is it tired and sluggish? Maybe it is infected? This year marks the 40th anniversary of Creeper, the world’s first computer virus. From Creeper to Stuxnet and all in between, the last four decades saw the number of malware instances boom from 1,300 in 1990 to 50,000 in 2000, to over 200 million in 2010. Besides nothing more than sheer quantity, viruses, which were originally used as academic proof of concepts, quickly turned into geek pranks, then rapidly evolved into cybercriminal tools. Now the virus scene has been monetized, and virtually all viruses are developed for the sole purpose of making money. Imagine that!


              Let’s take a look at some of the viruses over the last 40 year’s. It seems to me that viruses were NOT what they have become. Viruses used to be getting into a computer system “just to see if you could”. Kind of like sneaking out after it was time to go to bed whenever you were a kid “just to see if you could”. Now viruses just are like thieves, out to steal or destroy your identity and bank account. A genius mathematician by the name of Von Neumann came up with the concept of self-replicating automatas in the 1950’s. The first real computer virus came about in 1971 by an employee of a company that was working on “ARPANET”, the internet’s ancestor.


           The first virus, the creeper had an intriguing feature. It would look for a machine on the network, transfer to it, and display the following message: “ I’m the Creeper, catch me if you can”, and start over, thereby hoping from system to system. The next known computer virus was created by a 15 year old boy on an Apple II. It was just “geeky fun”. The name of this virus was the “Elk Cloner”. It was strictly harmless. It was spread via floppy disks. Infected machines displayed a harmless poem, dedicated to the viruses glory. Although it was harmless, it became global.


         In 1987 we had the virus named Jerusalem. It was first detected in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Each year on Friday the 13th , this virus deleted every single program that’s ran on the infected system. The first known virus to have destructive global impact. 1992 brought us Michelangelo, followed by 1999’s Melissa, 2000’s I Love You, 2001’s Code Red, which infected server’s. Microsoft even put out a $250,000 dollar bounty for the creator of this. There have been numerous since then as well, including last year’s Stuxnet.


       Stuxnet is a Windows based computer worm. It was discovered in July 2010, it targets industrial software and equipment. It is the first discovered malware that spies on and subverts industrial systems, and the first to include a programmable logic controller rootkit. Stuxnet is a real malicious virus. A report that was released in January 2011 indicated that 50% of the worlds computer’s were infected in some way or another. What’s next? No one knows for sure. It used to be that only Windows based computer’s had viruses. Now we see that even Apple and Linux based computer’s have become infected as well. If I were a betting man, I would say that cybercriminals are going to attack the smart phones and the iPads next. If you have any comments or feedback that you would like to share, please feel free to drop me a few lines. If there is any topic that you would like to see something written on that include that as well. As always I enjoy hearing from you and get out there and enjoy your day!         







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4 comments:

this is really one of the best post i have ever seen in my life.
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Nice article.From this article I know about different types of viruses and whole story about viruses in computer.

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