Since the beginning of the personal Computer era, there have also been Computer Viruses. This program is a type of malicious software, also known as malware, that can be infectious to your computer.
They can do this by either copying their own source code to your computer’s hard drive, or penetrating other programs and causing them to work incorrectly. These viruses have evolved over time, too. Hackers, who create the viruses that harm our computers, have learned to code them into the seemingly harmless downloads.
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You can protect your computer by using the best antivirus software, but once they are on your hard drive, theses viruses are very difficult to get rid of. There are so many types of Computer Viruses, too. To show you what we’re up against, we’ve put together a list of the most destructive malware out there.
Also known as The Love Letter Virus, the ILOVEYOU virus first started spreading like wildfire in May 2000. The recipient would receive an email, seemingly from a known contact, with the subject line reading “ILOVEYOU” and an attachment titled “LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.txt.vbs.” Once the attachment was opened, the virus began attacking the computer. After attacking that specific device, it would hack into the recipient’s contacts and replicate itself to everyone they knew. It’s estimated that this virus caused around $10 billion in damage, and 10% of the world’s Internet-connected devices were infected.
Melissa computer viruses
This computer virus, named after an exotic dancer by a man in Florida named David Smith, is also sent via email. Once the recipient clicks the file, which is usually named ‘list.doc,’ the computer’s storage becomes infected by the virus. The virus also sends itself to the first 50 contacts to keep its momentum going. Sometimes, when the day and minute values match, there’s another message that reads “Twenty-two points, plus triple-word score, plus fifty points for using all my letters. Game’s over. I’m outta here.” This quote is from a Bart Simpson cartoon and refers to the board game, Scrabble.
This virus got its name from the system it attacks, Local Security Authority Subsystem Service (LSASS). While it didn’t really cause permanent damage to the computers it infected, it made it very difficult to reset and clean them. Sasser is also responsible for taking down systems used by airlines, public transportation, and more. The damage done estimated to around $18 billion, and the mastermind behind the virus, computer science student Sven Jaschan, was tried as a minor and served 21 months in jail.
Code Red virus
Two employees at eEye Digital Security came across this virus on 2001. The name comes from the fact that the employees were drinking Mountain Dew Code Red when they discovered the virus (clever, right?!). The virus duplicated itself over 100 times, and subsequently attacked the computer’s resources, which rendered the computer basically useless. After that, the virus showed a message that read “Hacked by the Chines!” The damage caused was around $2 billion – not as much as some of the aforementioned viruses, but that amount is still no joke.
CryptoLocker is a form of ransomware that targets and infects Windows programming. Ransomware is among the types of computer viruses that basically kidnap your computer. The virus infects the device – computer, smartphone, tablet, etc – then requires the victim to pay for it to be taken off. The virus has infected about 500,000 computers, and received around $3 million in ransom money.
Mydoom is the second-fastest spreading virus, just after the ILOVEYOU virus. Discovered by McAfee employee Craig Schmugar, the virus’s file read ‘mydom,’ which stands for ‘my domain.’ Schmugar added an ‘o’ to the name and ‘Mydoom’ was given its current name. The virus is still active, and has racked up around $38.5 billion in damages to date.
Zeus infected computers through downloads and phishing scams. The virus also attacked large companies and banks like Amazon, Oracle, Cisco, and Bank of America. Zeus’s botnet was used to gather personal information, as well as logins for banks, social media, and email accounts from the owners of the infected devices. This data led to over $70 million being stolen by the hackers behind the virus. About 100 people were arrested in relation to the virus.
This virus was created to do some damage – and not just to your grandmother’s computer. Stuxnet is famous for being a virus that was created for the purpose of cyberwarfare, and targeting nuclear efforts in Iran. The virus would attack computers that used Siemens software through infected USB ports. The government estimated that Stuxnet ruined about 20% of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges.
This is known as one of the most costly viruses ever discovered. Conficker caused around $9 billion in damages and infected more that 9 million computers. The virus uses flaws in the computer’s operating system to create its own botnet, which makes it more permanent on the computer’s drive. The virus then begins installing software through its botnet that is used to steal information, and sometimes money, fwith the user.
CASE STUDY: Cyber Attacks Cause Android Virus and Affects a Million Devices
Computer viruses can be scary and deadly to your computer. The only surefire way to ensure your device’s safety is to use the best antivirus software on the market. You can see our list of best antivirus software programs here.