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The evolution of computer viruses
« on: March 09, 2008, 01:25:34 pm »
The evolution of computer viruses
By Inam Abidi Amrohvi
Published: March 09, 2008, 00:03


Inam Abidi Amrohvi provides a brief history of the most common PC bugs.

If you own a PC or a laptop, chances are that you must have been the victim of a virus or a worm once. In 1995 when Microsoft offered a free anti-virus with its Windows 95 operating system, it was a sign of the times to come. You can't even imagine a computer system without an anti- virus software these days.

What is a virus?

In a simpler way, a virus is an unwanted programme that is loaded on your computer. Viruses can make multiple copies of themselves, in the process draining the system resources. This eventually brings the system to a halt.

Most viruses now are capable of transmitting across networks (both local and internet) and even fooling the security systems. These are the ones that cause maximum damage.

The first developers

The first virus instances date back to the 1960s and 1970s. As part of a game, programmers at AT&T's Bell Labs and at Xerox's Palo Alto lab challenged each others' programmers to software 'duels'. The programme which remained operative at the end of the execution was the winner.

It was 1986 when virus infections first shook the world. Developed by two self–taught Pakistani computer experts, Brain, was the first virus that could replicate from one PC to another. Basit Farooq Alvi, 26 and Amjad Farooq Alvi, 19, brothers and owners of a store in Lahore called Brain Computer Services, wrote the virus supposedly to check software piracy. Unfortunately, the virus somehow got out of Pakistan and infected computers worldwide. It didn't cause any harm though. Brain is still considered one of the best written viruses ever.

Some famous viruses

Cascade: First discovered in Switzerland in 1987, Cascade caused all the letters on the screen to fall into a pile at the bottom (explains the name). The original form of the virus was activated between October and December 1980 (default date for all PCs earlier) or 1988.

Dark Avenger: First discovered in late 1989 in Bulgaria, Dark Avenger is the common name for a series of viruses. The virus infected a particular kind of file, and when the count reached 16 the virus removed some data from the hard disk.

Joshi: Popularly known as 'Happy Birthday Joshi', the virus was first discovered in India in June 1990, and soon hit the US and Africa. The infected system displays the message "type Happy Birthday Joshi" on a green background every January 5. Joshi is similar to Brain in the way it is written, and it too is more of an annoyance than a real threat.

Ping-Pong: Also known as the Italian virus or the Bouncing Ball virus, Ping-Pong was first discovered in Italy in 1988. The virus is triggered only occasionally and randomly. Once it activates, a dot begins to bounce around the screen. The dot will go through any characters on the screen, replacing them as it moves on.

Michelangelo: Discovered in mid-1991 this virus generated mass media frenzy. Michelangelo was created to trigger every March 6,(the birth date of the famous painter Michelangelo) and attempted to destroy the hard disk.

Melisa: First found in 1999, Melissa is classified as a macro virus (a virus that infects a Microsoft Word or similar application). When somebody opened the infected Word document received via email, the virus sent a copy of itself to the first 50 people in the victim's address book. The virus played havoc with the email systems of corporations and governments around the world.


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Re: The evolution of computer viruses
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2008, 01:18:24 pm »
Have you heard of the "Trojan Horse" virus?
It's very bad, it messes up your whole computer!
And also the "Cookie Chinese Guy" virus?
( cookie as in crazy )
A spinning, laughing, levatating, chinese guy pops up on your screen!!!

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Re: The evolution of computer viruses
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2008, 06:17:22 pm »
by the way, "trojan" is a kind of malicious software (malware) using the idea of the famous helen of troy (Trojan Horse) story. this code is most likely used as a backdoor program of some system (windows or unix-like) to do some things like an opening on the system (entry point of a cracker). a trojan can be a computer worm or a computer virus... depende sa naghimo.

more detailed explanation makita sa



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Re: The evolution of computer viruses
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2008, 04:28:47 am »
"All that is needed for evil to succeed is, that decent human beings doing nothing". (Edmund Burke)

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