Computer viruses have existed for as long as we can remember. Well, almost.
The first computer virus (externally released) is thought to be ‘Elk Cloner’. It is attributed to Rich Skrenta. It infected Apple DOS 3.3 computers and was spread via floppy disc – in those early days, the floppy disc was the main method of spreading viruses. That was back in 1982.
Funnily enough, Skrenta created the Elk Cloner as a simple prank when he was 15 years old. Elk Cloner embedded itself in a computer’s memory when an infected disc was used. It then spread to other discs that were used later on.
The virus was practically harmless. It did have a few tricks up its sleeves like displaying a poem every 50th boot.
Elk Cloner: The program with a personality
It will get on all your disks It will infiltrate your chips Yes it’s Cloner!
It will stick to you like glue It will modify ram too Send in the Cloner!
Sadly enough, decades later, viruses are still present, and they gone from pranks to destructive software that can turn the tech world upside down.
Even worse, with the Internet, floppy discs are no longer needed to spread viruses and other malware. Unsuspecting users can get infected with a single click, or even without knowing it.
Individual users pay for anti-virus software. Companies invest huge amounts of money to ensure their network security.
Still, brilliant minds have managed to use their talents to the detriment of others.
For curiosity’s sake, I’m sharing an infographic with you. It gives an overview of the most destructive viruses of all time, starting with Anna Kournikova. Released in 2001, the virus named after the popular tennis star showed explicit pictures of her. Worse, it copied all the addresses from Outlook and sent itself to all of them.
The cost? $166,000.
But that’s nothing compared to other viruses which did damages in billions of dollars. These programs are not called the most destructive viruses for nothing.
Take a look at the graphic. It might just convince you to beef up your security (if you haven’t already).