A review of the seven most damaging computer viruses

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Do you know the six precursors of WannaCry?

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WannaCry was a new reality, making it clear that not only the users are in danger before a computer virus, but also the big companies and even the states. Now, the enemy is much more powerful and the victim much greater. No large corporation is safe from a determined attacker, with sufficient resources and time.

Viruses and malware were plentiful from the outset. This is neither the first nor the last. Here are some of the highlights:

1. Morris (1988)

In 1988 there were only 60,000 computers with an internet connection worldwide, but it affected more than 10% of them. With damage estimated at about $ 96 million, Morris became one of the first major attacks and marked the beginning of an era. At that time also appeared the virus Friday 13, which was much better known, but Morris marked the way of how many other later virus would develop.”

2. CIH / Chernobyl (1998)

The CIH virus was a real headache for more than 60 million users of Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows ME. Once inside the machine, it ended up infected and removing information from the whole computer. It could even affect the BIOS. The losses are estimated at around one billion dollars.

3. Melissa (1999)

Melissa was one of the first viruses that involved the action of its own users, who were the ones who opened it. The trap: a file called List.doc that contained passwords and logs to access free of charge to various pornographic websites. The e-mail was his best ally, as soon as the document was opened; the virus infected absolutely all the Word files, besides accessing the list of contacts and forwarding to another 50 people. So it was not only destructive, but also viral.

4. I love you (2000)

I love you disguised yourself as a love letter. Today we would hesitate before opening it, but 17 years ago nobody suspected its falseness. It turned out to be the best known virus of the millennium shift, which eliminated all images from the computer (.jpg files) and generated losses of approximately 5.5 billion. In this trap not only users from their homes, devoid of declarations of love, but great institutions like the British Parliament or the Pentagon itself.

5. Mydoom (2004)

Mydoom disrupted much of the Windows security tools, so it was able to move around the operating system and the computer of the infected user. The nightmare came to such an extent that Microsoft even offered $ 250,000 to anyone who found the person responsible for this computer attack.

Mydoom is one of the most rapidly spread viruses: during its busy time, it reduced global traffic by up to 10% on the internet. Until its elimination, it generated damages near the 40 billion dollars.

6. Conficker (2008)

Conficker, another of Microsoft’s biggest nightmares, was unveiled in October 2008, when it directly attacked the backbone of Windows security systems to infect all its computers. It disabled tools like Windows Automatic Update, Windows Security Center, Windows Defender and Windows Error Reporting. It also spread among contacts, collected information and personal data of the user and infected other files. As in the case of Mydoom, Microsoft offered a reward of 250 thousand dollars to hunt the responsible.

7. WannaCry (2017)

WannaCry malware is the last of these. On Friday, May 12, he panicked and presented a new global threat: it is no longer a question of infecting isolated users, but of getting into big corporations and institutions, infecting their equipment and stealing information from them. He left more questions than answers: Will there be new attacks? What or who will be affected? Who is behind all this?

Now what?

“Before the attacks were generic and had a clear motivation: to infect as many people as possible. Now it is different: it is to launch targeted attacks, with a clear and identified victim, to steal information or affect the operation of the services. Large companies or public institutions, “Maybe big companies are not investing all the money they can in cybersecurity, but they are very active, because they know full well that the economic damage they face can be much greater.”

As for the states, he believes that many of the new wars will happen on the Internet, through cyber-attacks.

The most serious thing does not know against who is fighting: “In the wars of a lifetime, the opponents identify with each other and it is all delimited, but now it is not. How can a state know who is attacking you “There may be suspicions or you may even be clear, but you will not be able to directly accuse a country.”

For all this is that countries are learning to do the same as their enemies: attack without being discovered. “The United States invests a lot of money in defense, but also in attacks, even against its own citizens,” he said.

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