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‘Famous’ Computer Viruses

If you have a computer then chances are you have been the target of a virus of some sort. You may have had a little infection or you may have been one of the millions who’s computer became infected by one of the ‘major’ viruses of our time. Sadly, there are brilliant minds out there who, instead of using their powers for good use them for evil and rack up billions of dollars in damages along the way.

One of the worst viruses of them all was called the I Love You Virus and it caused damage to computers across the world. All told, about $10 billion was lost and it had infected 10% of the world’s computers. It used social engineering to get you, the user to click onto an attachment and once you did, the virus was sent to everyone on your mailing list. It also overwrote files making your computer good for nothing. It was so bad that some governments and large corporations actually took their mailing system offline so that they wouldn’t become part of the mess. Sadly, the two people responsible for the virus didn’t get punished because we had no laws against such things at the time. Today, we have E-commerce laws on the books to address such crimes.

Another infamous virus was called Code Red. It first appeared back in 2001 and was a worm that targeted computers that had the Microsoft IIS Webservers. It worked by exploiting a buffer overflow problem in the system and it was virtually untraceable so it was hard to detect. Once your computer had the virus it would make copies of itself and eat up the system resources causing your computer to not do what you wanted it to do, run slowly if at all and generally caused many problems for users. What’s more, it opened up your computer to allow for backdoor access through an attack on IP addresses and the kicker was that you’d get a lovely note from the hackers telling you you’d been “Hacked by Chinese!”. How’s that to add insult to injury? All told, this virus caused around $2 billion in damages and lost productivity and affected between 1 and 2 million servers worldwide.

If you have a Mac you may think you’re immune to viruses, but you’d be wrong. Back in 2100 Flashback infected 600,000 Macs. The good news with that virus was that it was usually localized just to the one user’s account and it didn’t spread like the others. It used Java and compromised websites to download its payload.

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