The History of the Computer Virus

When we think about computer viruses and their creation, the way they work, where they come from and the problems they create, we believe that it is a recent phenomenon that has threatened the PC world to a great extent today. But the actual truth is that computer viruses have been around for longer than most people might think.

The first computer viruspopularly known as the 'Brain virus' was created in 1986 by two Pakistani brothers, Amjad and Basit Farooq Alvi. This virus, which spread via floppy disks, was known only to infect boot records and not computer hard drives like most viruses today. The virus also known as the Lahore, Pakistani, Pakistani Brain, Brain-A and UIUC would occupy unused space on the floppy disk so that it could not be used and would hide from detection. It would also disguise itself by displaying the uninfected bootsector on the disk.

In 1987, the Lehigh virus was discovered at Lehigh University in the United States. The Lehigh virus was the first memory resident file infector that attacked executable files and took control when a file was opened. The Jerusalem virus also appeared around this time at Hebrew University in Israel. Like the Lehigh virus, the Jerusalem virus was also a memory resident file infector. It contained bugs to re-infect programs that were already infected.

In March 1988, the first anti-virus was designed to detect and remove the Brain virus. The anti-virus also immunized floppy disks to get rid of the Brian infection. At the same time, the Cascade virus appeared in Germany. The Cascade virus was the first encrypted virus, which was coded and could not be changed or removed.

Thus, during the late 1980's and the early 1990's, viruses on the loose which infected files, disks etc. on the computer and caused a great deal of damage received a lot of media attention. Magazines such a Business Week, Newsweek, Fortune, PC magazine, and Time began publishing articles about these destructive viruses running wild and demanded a solution for all these problems.

In 1991, Symantec released the Norton Anti-virus software. Anti-virus products from IBM, McAfee, Digital Dispatch and Iris also became available.

A few years ago, in 2000, the ILOVEYOU virus wreaked havoc around the world. The virus that was created in the Philippines was sent through email and spread around the world in one day infecting 10 percent of computers connected to the Internet and causing $ 5.5 billion dollars in damage. Hence, viruses are still common and still create chaos even today. It is hard to determine the reasons for all these actions and why virus writers create computer viruses. Some do it for their personal gain, for research projects, pranks, vandalism, etc., while others want to help make improvements in programs.

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Identity theft comes in many forms.

A person\92s identity can be 'borrowed' for the purpose of creating fictional credit cards or a person\92s entire identity can be usurped to the point where they can have difficulty proving that they really are who they claim to be.

Up to 18% of identity theft victims take as long as four years to realize that their identity has been stolen.

There are many ways to protect your personal identity and many steps you can take to prevent your identity from being stolen:

*Never give out unnecessary personal information
*Never provide bank details or social security numbers over the Internet
*Always remain aware of who is standing behind you when you type in your personal credit codes at ATM machines and at supermarket checkout swipe machines.