History of Computer Virus

How the Computer Virus Progressed Over the Years

The first computer virus dates back to 1986, when a little bug called “Brain” made its way onto personal computers. Brain turned out to be harmless; the authors even included personal contact information in the code.

It seems the viruses that spread during the 1980s and into the ‘90s followed a similar pattern. Some caused moderate issues (“VCL”, 1992), while others like “Form” (1990), caused a little more damage. In 1991, “Michaelangelo” became the first to make international headlines. It was originally designed to infect DOS (disk operating system) interfaces, and computer users were even advised not to run their machines. However, the furor eventually died out without too much controversy.

Throughout the ‘90s, as the Internet became popular, viruses continued to pop up, although it took a while to make its way to email. The first known email virus was “Happy99”, which offered a “Happy New Year 1999” greeting. Like “Brain”, the virus did not cause any damage, but instead attached itself to contact lists, thus spreading to millions of PCs.

A year later, one of the most infamous viruses crippled hard drives around the world. Known as “Love Letter” or “The Love Bug”, this virus caused more than $10 billion worth of damage, infiltrating systems in its path. Like Happy99, it spread through email attachments, but also overwrote numerous computer files. It remains one of the most severe viruses in computer history.

Into the 2000s, many other worms, viruses, and spyware continued to take form and infiltrate systems and networks. While there are literally millions of different types, fortunately there have not been any viruses close to the severity of the Love Letter. Regardless, using proper anti-malware programs helps prevent even the smallest of viruses from infiltrating your system. Many options exist, some free, some for a price, just be sure to do your research. Some “free” programs are so bloated that they can slow your computer down just as badly as a virus can. If you need any help figuring out the best program, ask your friends, or contact Geeks on Site.