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The 8 Most Infamous Computer Viruses

Internet / Technology

Jessie Clarke-Mcleod
April 25, 2018

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The 8 Most Infamous Computer Viruses

If this article doesn’t make you download some anti-virus protection on your laptop, then nothing will.

We all take steps to make sure we protect our computers from malware. The anti-virus software on our computers must continuously be updated to protect from the latest vulnerabilities and threats. The need for regular updates is a testament to the sophistication of these viruses. With the onslaught of the earliest computer viruses, some of the perpetrators never served jail time because laws prohibiting their actions did not exist. Some of these viruses caused damage in the billions, while at the same time launched themselves into infamy. This article will guide you through a list of the most well-known computer viruses of the past decades.

  1. The ILOVEYOU virus

In 2000 the ILOVEYOU virus created over 10 billion dollars’ worth of damage on computer systems all over the world. Approximately 10% of the worlds computers connected to the internet were affected. The virus bombarded the internet user with ILOVEYOU messages and forwarded it to everybody on the infected users mail list. This was in an effort for its Pilipino creators to steal internet access passwords.

  1. The Melissa Virus

The Melissa Virus was named after a stripper. The virus was written by David L Smith as a tribute to the exotic dancer in 1999. Its main function would be to mail itself to the users top 50 mail recipients, increasing their email traffic and disrupting the email services of governments and corporations. The virus also entered quotes from the Simpsons into word documents. It caused over 80 million dollars’ worth of damage.

  1. The Blaster Worm

The author of the Blaster worm virus remains a mystery. The virus affected Microsoft by launching a denial of service attack. It exploited a security hole in the Microsoft software. The virus infected millions of computers around the world.

  1. The Sasser Virus

A German teenager, Sven Jaschan, was found guilty of writing this program he was tried as a minor and received a 21-month sentence. The virus caused computers to crash and made it hard to reset. The virus took out critical infrastructures such as airlines, news agencies, hospitals, and public transport. He was responsible for 70% of all the malware seen on the internet at the time, and the cost of the damage he caused amounted to 18 billion dollars. He would later be hired by a security company to act as an ethical hacker.

  1. Zeus

The Zeus virus is a more recent computer virus.  In 2010 the trojan horse infected Windows computers so that they would perform various criminal tasks. It managed to compromise thousands of FTP accounts and computers from large multi-national corporations and banks. The Zeus virus stole the login details from the social networks, email and banking accounts. Over 1 million computers were infected. A hundred people were arrested in connection with this operation, and over 70 million dollars were stolen.

  1. Stuxnet

Created by the Israeli defence force in conjunction with the American government, Stuxnet is an example of a cyberwarfare virus. It was designed to disrupt the nuclear efforts of the Iranians. It managed to ruin one-fifth of the Iranian nuclear centrifuges. Nearly 60% of all infections contracted within Iran.

  1. Flashback

This virus gained notoriety because it targeted MAC computers. As Mac is supposedly one of the more secure operating systems, it proved that even Mac could be vulnerable to attacks. It installs a flash player which infected over 600 000 macs. It was not as damaging as some of the other viruses listed in this article but one that is significant because it was able to infect such a ‘secure’ system. In 2014 over 22 000 Macs were still infected.

  1. Code Red

Code red gets its name from the code red mountain dew the two digital security employees were drinking when they discovered the virus. Once infected the virus proceeds to duplicate itself by eating up the computer’s resources. It would then launch a denial of service attack on the IP address of the infected computer. Most famously this virus infected the White House. The virus costs 2 billion in lost productivity.

With the advent of online banking, shopping and increased dependence on social networks it is vital to make sure your devices are secure. We hope this article has opened your eyes to the potential threats and encouraged you to take proactive action to keep yourself safe. If you enjoyed this article share it with your friends! Comment below and let us know if you’ve ever experienced a security breach.

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