Viruses Past and Present

Computer viruses have been around for a long time. The first virus is thought to have been released in 1982. Ever since this first virus, there have been thousands of different releases of computer viruses.

What is a Virus?

A virus is a malicious computer program which can replicate itself. It's created to change what your computer does. Viruses can be contracted without your permission and you might not know anything about the infection until you run a virus scan.

The First Virus

The first virus, which was released in the wild and affected normal computers, was created in 1982. There were previous viruses created before this time but these were never released from the labs where they were written.

This first virus attacked Apple Dos 3.3 and was spread by disks. This virus was written by Rich Skrenta.

The First PC Virus

The first virus to attack PCs was called ©Brain and it was released in 1986. This was a boot sector virus written by brothers from Pakistan. Apparently the reason for this computer virus was to prevent people pirating their software.

Spread Of Viruses

Before networks were common place, viruses would spread on floppy disks. This was made easy because people commonly shared information on floppy disks. These computer viruses emerged in the 80's.

Computer viruses became much more widespread throughout subsequent years. Thanks to networks and the internet the spread of viruses was made easier.

Modern Viruses

There are lots of different types of viruses. Macro viruses became extremely common during the 90's. These are very easy to write as they are normally written using tools included with office applications. These macro viruses are dangerous because they can affect multiple platforms. Microsoft Office is available on Mac OS too, and this means that the viruses can spread easily.

Computer viruses are often spread using instant messenger clients. Many IM clients are being used to send links and software to people. If anyone clicks on these links or downloads the software then their computer might become infected.

Cross-Site scripting viruses are the newest breed of virus. This type of virus was demonstrated academically in 2005. It is spread by exploiting cross-site scripting problems. These viruses have been responsible for affecting some very well known sites including Yahoo and Myspace.

Viruses can now affect every computer platform including Mac OS, Windows and Linux. Linux viruses are becoming a major problem for anyone using the operating system.

There are lots of viruses available on the internet. Computer viruses are becoming more common every year. It's very important that you update your virus scanner on a regular basis to ensure your computer is fully protected.

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Spyware has many ways of getting onto your computer, such as:

When you download programs - particularly freeware, or peer-to-peer sharing programs.

More covertly, spyware can install itself just by you visiting certain sites, by prompting you to download an application to see the site properly.

ActiveX controls. These pesky spyware makers will prompt you to install themselves while using your Internet browser