From the massification of computers, whose biggest boom began almost three decades ago with the arrival of a PC to every home and even the invasion of internet cafes, computer viruses have had free rein to access devices, and in many cases have come to completely destroy large server systems.
Undoubtedly, the threat of the virus spread in a spectacular way from the great mass of computers as well as Internet, because through this means many people use free access to introduce malware on computers, at the innocence of users who surf the web or download content from websites and p2p clients.
It is noteworthy that a computer virus is nothing but a malicious software that has been designed to be able to run automatically and auto replicate. While it is considered that since the sixties there is the presence of malware, the fact is that the term “computer virus” was coined in 1983 by Fred Cohen.
In the history of computing, over the years there have been an immense amount of virus, it would be impossible to try to list them all, but some of this malware stood out from the rest, having a significant impact and reputation, based usually on its destructive power.
In this special report we will review computer viruses most famous in history, which often have wreaked havoc not only on home PCs but also on servers that suffered the loss of their information, causing disorders worldwide.
Core War: The pioneer of malware
Actually, Core War was not a computer virus, but rather a game which spread through one of the first software with malicious features, that affecting the computer memory and could self replicate.
This game was developed by a group of programmers from the company Bell Computer, who in the 60s created a simple application that competed with other programs running on a computer in order to gain absolute control of memory of the team.
Thus, Core War became the first program able to achieve self-replicate, thus causing problems in the execution of other applications. That is why, usually considered one of the forerunners of the computer virus in history of computing.
Creeper: The first virus of history
Although surely Core War ushered in the era of computer viruses, the fact is that the famous Creeper was the first virus that included the typical characteristics of a genuine malware.
Creeper was created by Bob Thomas in 1971, and was specially written to attack the Tenex operating system. When Creeper reached a computer, usually through the nodes of the ARPANET, the malware it was self-executing and began to show the following message: “I’m the creeper, catch me if you can!”
Reaper: The first antivirus
After several ravages achieved by Creeper, which left several computers in temporary disuse as a way to end this malware, came another virus called Reaper, which is spread through the network for infected machines Creeper to remove.
Thus, the history of computing and computer witnessed the birth of the first antivirus, because despite being designed with characteristics of malware, Reaper ultimately fulfilled a function of antidote to the spread of Creeper.
Viruses in the 80’s
Continuing the story of computer viruses, as mentioned, in the eighties came the real furor over these malicious software that spreading PC to PC, creating different problems in the functioning of the devices that were infected.
It was in 1985 when they began to appear the first Trojan horses or Trojans, that were camouflaged under an image enhancement program graphics called EGABTR, and in another famous game called NUKE-LA.
In this sense, the called Brain virus was the first virus that had the power to cause major infections at the time, which began circulating in 1986, and by 1987 he had managed to spread throughout the world.
Brain: The first mass virus
In 1986 began circulating the Brain virus, considered as the first mass computer virus from the history. This virus had been written for MS-DOS with the purpose of attack the system and was fully compatible with IBM PC.
It was created by a group of hometown friends in the city of Lahore, Pakistan, who were responsible for selling distribute copies of the diskettes inserted in pirated commercial software, including the popular Lotus, SuperCalc and WordStar were.
Thus, Brain quickly came to the United States, where more than 20,000 computers were infected within months. The arrival of Brain served to creating more sophisticated malware, not only for their propagation methods but also for its attack methodology.
When Brain reaches to a computer, the malware was self-executing and began to infect the boot sector for the disk in the computer BIOS. To avoid being identified, he was hid intercepting and modifying all orders that ran the operating system for virus detection, responding with values indicated that the PC was not infected. Many users do not understand why your computer is not working normally, since apparently they had not been infected.
Such was the popularity achieved this malware, that the Brain programming code was altered countless times by different programmers, thus giving rise to the birth of countless versions of this virus.
The phenomenon became really dangerous when the virus attacked the email systems of IBM Company, after which the Center for Research Thomas J. Watson, in Yorktown Heights, NY, began working in the field of virus.
More viruses and Trojan horses
In the eighties coexisted a lot of virus producing greater or minor damage to computers that managed to infect. Among the most famous cases, we can mention the Jerusalem virus, created by the terrorist sector in Palestine in 1988.
In 1987 the first massive infection of Macintosh computer, infected through the virus called MacMag, also known as Peace occurs. Another famous malware was known as Friday the 13th, followed by malware such as Stone and Dark Avenger.
By the late eighties, they had already been detected in the world an amount of virus exceeding 100, which was considered an epidemic, requiring appropriate measures to prevent the advance of these malicious code programs.
Therein lies precisely the fact that today viruses have become one of the main reasons for the loss of information on computers and portable devices.
Melissa: The office suite virus
Continuing the retrospective in the history of computer viruses most famous in history, in March 1999 made its debut the called Melissa virus, who eventually infected more than 100,000 computers in just three days, achieving a new record in as for spreading malware.
Basically, Melissa was a malware virus belonging to the macro type, which are characterized by concealing the malicious source code within the macro in a document.
Thus, Melissa managed to spread through text documents created in Microsoft Word or spreadsheets of Microsoft Excel.
Created by David L. Smith, for its transmission the virus was hidden inside a document that should be read with applications were part of the Microsoft Office suite, which promised to hold a countless passwords to enter a long list of payment pages erotic websites.
Each time a user opened the document containing Melissa, the virus could infect the document template default office suite, and from there all files created with the suite contained the macro with the virus code.
It could be said that the absolute success of Melissa it lies in its extreme simplicity, capable of replication and infection method, you should also curiosity of users.
I Love You: Love worm in email
When the nineties left us, precisely in the month of May 2000, it occurred massive computer infection that affected more than 50 million PCs worldwide, causing losses of about 5.500 billion dollars.
The virus that caused such damage was called I Love You, and was created by a Filipino hacker who called himself “Spyder”, who had designed a simple worm written in VBScript language.
I Love You was spread via email. In different parts of the world, users received an email, the sender was known to the receiver of the message, which bore the subject line “ILOVEYOU”.
The email included an attachment with VBScript format entitled “LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.TXT.vbs”, and of course a message in which he was asked the recipient to read the accompanying letter of love.
When the user running the script, the virus began to carry out its task, spreading through the forwarded message to all contacts belonging to the user’s address book messages, using the email address.
The method of spread of this virus was through a Trojan designed to destroy all files with extension doc, vbs, vbe, js, jse, css, wsh, sct, hta, jpg and jpeg that were stored on infected computers, replacing these documents by a copy of the script.
I Love You became an epidemic, even in just one week achieve infect the Pentagon, the CIA and the British parliament.
Nimda: The alleged al Qaeda attack
Continuing with the development of the history of the most famous virus in the computer world, we cannot fail to mention the famous Nimda, which actually was the “Admin” word written backwards, and that spread in September 2001 creating a real paranoia worldwide.
A few minutes of initial distribution through Internet, Nimda became in one of the virus more spread of the story, as it managed to infect more than half a million computers in a span of just 12 hours.
Nimda: Detection Report
His virulent attack and how they spread caused panic in a large portion of the population, as had spread the rumor that it was a worm distributed by terrorists belonging to al Qaeda group. Nimba used different methods of infection, hence the rapid and voracious spread from computer to computer.
The first technique was through sending a file entitled readme.exe that spread through infected emails and mail clients using the user’s address book.
In addition it produced a buffer overflow, in order to infect web servers working with the Microsoft IIS platform using shared network resources from the infected computer.
Also it takes advantage of damage caused by other viruses, such as Code Red II and Sadmind that created vulnerability in the access of PCs, leading to the entry of Nimba.
Between the period of 2003 and 2004 they spread massively three similar types of viruses called Blaster, Sasser and Sober, who managed to increase profits computer technical services of those years.
Blaster, also known as Lovsan, appeared in 2003 causing that hundreds of thousands of users will face the disadvantage that their computers are automatically turned off after a few seconds of being switched on.
For propagation, Blaster used the vulnerability presented by the service DCOM RPC from Windows OS, but after a few days of arriving, the computer worm was offset by a new malware called Welchia, which actually acted as antivirus eliminating Blaster infested computers.
Meanwhile, Sober appeared a few months later, being a really much more dangerous threat than its predecessor, and also several variants of this malware, which came to harm until well into 2005.
Some versions of this virus was responsible for disabling the firewall and antivirus that used the user, and then gather e-mail addresses, to which were sent spam messages, in addition to using infected computers in networks bots.
The third case was called Sasser, who arrived in 2004, and like Blaster, was takes advantage of a Windows operating system vulnerability to carry out their damage and spread.
Specifically, Sasser used LSASS, acronym Subsystem Local Security Authority of Windows, causing a buffer overflow in the executable LSASS. With this, the malware achieve that the operating system automatically stopped after some time to start working.
The spread of Sasser caused immense damage and incalculable losses, as reached not only personal computers, but also infected hospitals, banks, news agencies, companies air and ground travel, universities, and others systems, achieving for a few days that some factories temporarily closed, canceled trips and even patients moved to other health facilities.
Another virus that gained great popularity in recent years was the so-called Conficker, which was detected in late 2008 and today still continues to sow their malicious code to a large number of computers in the world, as they have created countless malware versions based in this virus.
Conficker spreads through the generation of a buffer overflow in a Microsoft Wndows Server operating system service, disabling important services such as Windows Automatic Update, Windows Security Center, Windows Defender and Windows Error Reporting.
After achieving these objectives, the virus contacts a server, which provides instructions to replicate, collect personal information or download other malwares. Conficker is able to bind to key processes in running Windows, such as explorer.exe, svchost.exe and services.exe.
Conficker and almost all its versions, also works by infecting removable devices, such as USB flash drives, memory cards and others, as well as those teams working with shared resources without safety devices.
This virus in its first version was very difficult to eradicate, because once your computer was infected with the worm, simultaneously all automatic Windows updates and security applications known as antivirus that were installed on the PC were disabled affected.
In addition, it prevented users access to the official websites of antivirus distribution and eliminated the restore points system, making it impossible to install the necessary solutions to eliminate the virus.
The damage that viruses occur in the computer equipment does not end at this point, and will surely continue in the future, increasingly sophisticated and harmful developments will generate greater problems, so the leading software development companies antivirus work constantly to find the answers to the drawbacks of current threats.
In this line, we can cite the vulnerability that suffers one of the most used operating systems in the world: Windows 7, which according to computer security company Sophos is affected by 8 out of 10 virus of the most popular today.
Also consider that Windows 10 is the new target of hackers around the world, so it is advisable to always use a reliable antivirus, regularly updated, and that gives us the assurance that our team is well protected.
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