Friday, November 25, 2005

Among Us For Decades

The first documented virus classified as in the wild (not contained in an experimental environment but spread among normal, unsuspecting computer users) was Elk Cloner, way back in 1981. This virus spread on Apple II floppy disks and displayed a harmless rhyme on-screen.
Researcher Fred Cohen formally defined the virus concept in a 1984 paper titled “Computer Viruses – Theory and Experiments,” in which he wrote, “Every general purpose system currently in use is open to at least limited viral attack.” Amazingly, this discovery holds true nearly 20 years later, as many computers today are vulnerable to a multitude of viruses, as well as virus-like mutants such as worms.
Today, people loosely use the term “virus” to describe malicious code that can infect and possibly damage a computer. But viruses are just one of several examples of this code; others include worms and Trojan horses. Collectively known as malware (malicious software), these pieces of code can attack computers from a variety of sources, including downloaded program files, email attachments, and even web sites. Virus writers range from curious troublemakers tinkering with virus creation programs to experienced software coders.


Post a Comment

<< Home