Ever since the first computer virus was unleashed in 1971, they have increased in complexity and level of destruction. Here is a list of the top 5 worst viruses ever created.
Ancient Greece had smallpox, the medieval period had the plague; we have – computer viruses. (Granted, there are also Ebola and Zika; but against these two – there’s actually some chance of defeating them. Computer viruses and their many forms – are here to stay and evolve!) Not only do they get on our nerves, they can also do serious harm to your technology. I’ve fallen victim to these annoying pests from time to time, and had sustained some major setbacks business-wise!
What is a Computer Virus?
The first computer virus was unleashed in 1971 and ever since, it has been constantly evolving becoming ever so complex, sophisticated and destructive!
To understand the nature of a computer virus, it is best to compare it to its biological counterpart – it attaches to the host (computer program or document), alters the way the target system works, and spreads from one system to another (they are self-replicating). When a virus attaches itself to a specific program or code, it remains dormant until the user does something that initiates its launch.
Types of malware and the extent of damage they cause differ greatly. Not all viruses are equally evil; some just want to have fun (here’s your new hit, Cindy Lauper!) without causing serious damage to your computer. Others can have a profound and irreversible impact on people’s hard drives; they can erase data, or even cause significant financial loss, reaching billions.
But, what were the greatest virus attacks, and which of them had caused the greatest damage?!
5 Worst Computer Viruses of All Time
- Storm Trojan (Storm Worm) – appeared in 2006, and deviously infected thousands of computers. The infection started when oblivious users opened an email with a subject header “230 dead as storm batters Europe.” A click on the email was enough to initiate the worm to make computer zombies or bots. Computer bot could be controlled by another person, rendering the primary users completely powerless to control their own data. This monster worm controlled up to 10 million CPUs (the processor that powers the computer)!
- Melissa – hurricanes are not the only menaces called by female names. Melissa virus made an appearance in 1999 in the USA. Thanks to a whole bunch of social engineering skills, she managed to cause more than 80 million dollars of damage to various American companies – like Microsoft, Intel, Lucent Technologies! Her mode of operation was to attack an unsuspecting email user and invite him/her to open a file containing passwords for pornographic websites. After users satisfied their curiosity and opened the file, Melissa emailed itself to the first 50 addresses from the user’s address book. So when someone receives an email with Melissa virus, it appears as if from someone they know.
- Sasser – at the age of 18 German, Sven Jaschan authored one of the worst computer viruses so far. Its favorite food was Windows XP and Windows 2000. It was called Sasser because it attacked Local Security Subsystem Services (LSAS), which has an important role in taking care of different security aspects of Windows system. Infiltrated into the security system, Sasser tempered with passwords and logging details. The users had trouble shutting down their machines without pulling out the plug, and their access, as well as overall usage of the computer, was tremendously difficult. By the way, young Jaschan released the virus on his 18th birthday (awww, how symbolic!) and we are yet to see a movie covering this story because it has an excellent plot twist – Sven’s friend tipped him off to the authorities to collect the $250.000 bounty prize.
- Anna Kournikova – this particular virus goes to show just how much damage a pretty face can do! In 2001, a Dutch programmer Jan de Wit designed the virus disguised as a message containing a revealing picture of the famous tennis player – Anna Kournikova. Oh, the disappointment when instead of Anna, the recipients ended up with an ugly virus! This virus also used the user’s address book to spread and paralyzed servers all around the globe. Mister Jan got a community service sentence, and it remains unclear how Anna reacted to this honorable mention.
- My Doom – the fastest spreading virus ever is My Doom, designed by an anonymous Russian coder. During February 2004, this virus started its prompt and successful rise. It operated via email attachments with an inspired title, like – “Mail Transaction Failed.” Naturally, everyone would click to see why their email wasn’t sent! My Doom aimed at Google, AltaVista, and Lycos. Its greatest accomplishment was shutting Google for almost a day. Imagine if it would happen today… Horror!
Boost Your Computer’s Immunity!
Besides traditional antiviruses, protect your computer with efficient and effective services, like the ones offered by The Computer Market. Think of all the valuable documents, pictures and data you have on your computer, and you’ll realize that prevention is the best solution. It would also be smart to check twice before opening suspicious invitations and “too good to be true” pictures.