History and Origin of Viruses: The First Computer Virus

Computer viruses are still a reality today. However, although the history of computing may seem very recent (not everyone had a computer before the year 2000), the reality is that computer viruses have been with us for a few decades.

Below, we review its origin and history, along with some data that will surely surprise you.

Origin of Computer Viruses

The origin of the “computer virus” dates back to the 1960s, when the first personal computers began to be used at home and in companies.

The first computer viruses were very simple programs that spread by copying infected files to disks and other external storage devices. That is to say, they were not as aggressive as the ones we know today, but it was enough to call them viruses and take this problem for granted, which years later would be consolidated.

As technology has developed and advanced, computer viruses have also adapted and evolved to take advantage of weaknesses in computer systems.

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Today, modern computer viruses can spread through email, messaging apps, social media, malware, and other online spread techniques.

What was the first virus?

The first known computer virus is that of «creeper. It was created in the year 1971 by Bob Thomas, a programmer at BBN Technologies. The virus infects computers running the TENEX operating system and spreads through shared file systems. The virus displayed the message “I’m the creeper; catch me if you can! Although this virus did not cause harm, it was considered the first attempt to create a computer virus.

What were the most dangerous viruses in history?

Although some time has passed since the first virus, Creeper, it has been followed by other viruses considered to be the most dangerous.

Among those highlighted as the most dangerous in history are:

  • ILOVEYOU: This virus was a boom in the 2000s and spread via email. It is estimated that it caused damage worldwide, resulting in economic losses of more than 5.5 billion dollars.
  • Code Network: This worm was spread from a vulnerability in Windows web servers in 2001. In just one day, it infected more than 350,000 systems.
  • Sasser worms and the Netsky virus: These computer worms spread through a vulnerability found in Windows in 2004. This caused major computer service interruptions in companies and government organizations, so for a while everything stopped. Although at first they acted separately, they came to combine.
  • WannaCry: It is possible that this name sounds more familiar to you because it is one of the most dangerous and recent viruses to leak in recent years. This worm spread in 2017 through a vulnerability in Windows that affected more than 200,000 systems in 150 countries, causing service interruptions even in hospitals, companies, and government organizations. Hence, its gravity.
  • NotPetya: This virus, like WannaCry, appeared in the first year and also on Windows. It left significant damage to logistics, transportation, and manufacturing companies, resulting in millions of economic losses.

These are some examples of the most dangerous computer viruses in history, but there have certainly been a few more. The important thing is, above all, to try to protect yourself to avoid catching one.

It is essential to take adequate security measures to protect yourself against these viruses and keep computer systems updated. This is how you can reduce the risk of them entering through a vulnerability or mistake.

From then until today, what has changed?

Although it is true that computing has taken a giant step since then, In spite of everything, that does not mean that we can now lower our guard; quite the contrary. We have ways to better protect ourselves and cover our backs, but viruses, worms, and other malware still exist. You have to be careful!

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How can we protect ourselves today from viruses?

It is important that you follow security recommendations to avoid computer viruses. If you follow these tips, you will see that you manage to reduce the probability of suffering from a virus, with its terrible consequences.

In any case, we remind you of a series of quick recommendations that you must follow:

  • Regularly update your apps and devices.
  • Avoid clicking on fraudulent links.
  • Avoid downloading and installing programs from unknown sources.
  • Make regular backups.

Avoid protecting yourself from viruses with best backup and antivirus. This is how you can avoid losing the data that matters to you and thus keep everything safe.

Do you have any doubts about how the first viruses appeared?

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