Writing Computer Viruses - Why Are They Designed?

With so much hype about viruses dominating the internet scene, getting more information about these viruses and about how to protect one's computer from them has become a necessity. But, have you ever wondered who originally created these computer viruses and why are they made?

Virus History

Originally, viruses were written by programmers as practical jokes. In fact, the very first viruses were only released in computer labs and were never meant for malicious intent or to be used on the worldwide web.

It wasn't until the popularity of the Internet exploded that viruses became a major problem for Personal Computers. Hackers came up with new and inventive ways of using viruses to make money. They even created adware that popped up advertising windows all over your desktop. Lately, many of the criminal organizations have created viruses that scan your machine for things like bank account, credit card and social security numbers. Most of the viruses found on the internet can sniff the traffic going in or out of a computer for selective information such as passwords or credit card numbers and send it back to the virus creator.

Some viruses will feature keyloggers as a method of stealing information from your computer. These keyloggers will record all of the information that you enter into your computer. This includes your passwords, credit card numbers and bank account details. Implementation of such intrusive techniques allows the attacker to gather an incredible amount of data. This information can be used for identity theft purposes

Why Do People Create Computer Viruses?

An infinite series of viruses found over the net are designed for different objectives, some of these objectives are listed below:

- To gain control of or hack a computer and use it for specific tasks

- To generate money by using such malware as a cash machine

- To steal sensitive information (credit card numbers, passwords, personal details, data, etc.)

- To prove that they are capable of writing a virus

- For Revenge against a company

- To cripple a computer or network

Viruses usually gain access to the victim's computer following an accidental download by the computer user who is ignorant about the source of the program, such as a file sent from an instant messenger friend or email attachment.

How The Hacker Gains Access To Your Information

Once the host computer catches the infection (known as a zombie computer), the Trojan opens up a private channel and awaits orders from its "Zombie Master". This Zombie Master is usually the virus creator, will amass info from thousands of infected machines called a ‘botnet' and use them to mount invasions on web servers.

The hacker gains the control of each of these infected computers and sends out a tiny bit of information to a web server.  As there are potentially thousands of computers doing this at once, it can overload the server and crash it. This is known as a Denial of Service (DoS) Attack.

Spend time learning about current viruses so that you can learn how to protect your computer using antivirus software and firewalls.

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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.