The first virus found “in the wild” was the “Creeper System”, written by Bob Thomas at BBN Technologies in the early 1970s. The virus was an experiment that tested the theory of self-replication and infected certain types of computers with the TENEX operating system. The swindler virus was not dangerous at all, the impression “I’m a vine, catch me if you can” on every infected computer is the degree of virus ability. After all, it was just a test to see if programs can spread through computer networks, it does not have to be malicious.
The first malicious virus hit computers in 1974, the so-called Rabbit virus, because of its speed. The Rabbit virus was designed not only to replicate for distribution purposes, but also to shut down the infected computer using valuable computer resources, such as memory. The virus will slow down exponentially and eventually smash the computer using all its computing power.
Another remarkable early malicious virus (created in 1981) was Moose Cloner, written as a prank by 15-year-old high school student Richard Scrant. Known as “the first ever large-scale computer virus outbreak”, the Elk Kloner virus targeted only Apple II systems (supposedly because of its weak infrastructure, which makes it vulnerable to infection and spread) and printed the following poem on infected computers:
Moose Kloner: A program with a personality.
It’ll be in all your files.
It’ll be in your chips…
Yes, it’s Kloner!
It’ll stick to you like glue.
It’s also gonna change your RAM.
Send a cloner!
Until 1987, when the first antivirus was created, there was little movement in the virus world. The biggest and most destructive virus until then was the “Virus of Jerusalem”, first discovered in the city that bears his name. The Jerusalem Virus, having contracted it from a PC, destroyed all .exe files (executable file, typical file type for a program) on the computer when the date was set to Friday the 13th. When it first happened, in May 1988, the virus caused a “global epidemic”.
The same year, the randomly named Bernd Fix performed the first computer virus removal.
At the end of 1987, the antivirus industry went through a major movement, founding the now world-famous McAfee company (now owned by Intel) and developing its first antivirus products. G Data Software would be the first company to launch “Ultimate Virus Killer 2000” this year, followed by McAfee’s “Virus Scan”.
The popularity of viruses is growing exponentially year by year: in 1994 (according to AV-TEST), almost 30,000 malware samples were detected. That number rose to almost 100,000 in 1999, 333,000 in 2005 and 5,500,000 in 2007, and will rise from 300,000 to 500,000 per day by 2013!
Fast forward by 2016. Today there are countless companies offering antivirus solutions, all of which have many different products for different operating systems and devices.