Elk Cloner (1982)
Elk Cloner is regarded as the first virus to hit personal computers worldwide, “Elk Cloner” spread through Apple II floppy disks. The program was authored by Rich Skrenta, a ninth-grade student then, who wanted to play a joke on his schoolmates. The virus was put on a gaming disk, which could be used 49 times. On 50th time, instead of starting the game, it opened a blank screen that read a poem: “Elk Cloner: The program with a personality”. Elk Cloner was though a self-replicating virus like most other viruses, it bore little resemblance to the malicious programmes of today.
Brain was the first virus to hit computers running Microsoft’s then popular operating system MS-DOS. The virus was written by two Pakistani brothers, Basit Farooq Alvi and his brother Amjad Farooq Alvi and left the phone number of their computer repair shop. A boot-sector virus, Brain infected the boot records of 360K floppy disks. The virus would fill unused space on the floppy disk so that it could not be used. The virus was also known as Lahore, Pakistani and Pakistani Brain. The brothers told TIME magazine they had written it to protect their medical software from piracy and it was supposed to target copyright infringers only.
Chernobyl virus also known as CIH or Spacefiller was first detected in 1998, however, it first triggered in April 1999, 13th the anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster (which took place in Ukrainian). It was conceived by a University graduate from Taiwan called Chen Ing Hau (CIH). One of the most harmful viruses, it overwrites critical information on infected system drives. The virus was reportedly the first virus known to have the power to damage computer hardware, with virus attempting to erase the hard drive and overwrite the system’s BIOS as well. The virus is also known as “space filler virus,” due to its ability to clandestinely take up file space on computers and prevent anti-virus software from running.
‘Melissa’ was one of the first viruses to spread over email. When users opened an attachment, the virus sent copies of itself to the first 50 people in the user’s address book, covering the globe within hours. The virus known as Melissa — believed to have been named after a Florida stripper its creator David L. Smith knew, caused more than $80m in damage after it was launched in March 1999. Computers became infected when users received a particular e-mail and opened a Word document attached to it. First found on March 26, 1999, Melissa shut down Internet mail systems at several enterprises across the world after being they got clogged with infected e-mails carrying the worm. The worm was first distributed in the Usenet discussion group alt.sex. The creator of the virus, David Smith, was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment by a United States court.