Definitely, one of the most frustrating things that could ever happen to you is finding out that your computer is victimized by a serious damaging virus. Some people would perceive such an incident as trivial; they will simply cleanup their computers then install an antivirus program, and voilà! Everything is fine. Well, yes, that is a very positive way to deal with such unfortunate incidents, but the ugly truth is that not all computer viruses are that easy to deal with; Some of them can cause severe damages to your computer like wiping out all your saved information or corrupting your most important documents. In case you’re not sure what is exactly the computer virus, it is a self-replicating program that works on infecting computer devices; they were given that name by a doctoral student called Fred Cohen. During the early times of the computer age, these infected programs solely counted on human beings to allow them in. In other words, the virus could not enter your computer system unless it was allowed to by you. Later after the popularity of modems, viruses were developed to be able to automatically send themselves through malicious links or emails. Here’s a list of 10 disastrous computer viruses that have caused real damages; check them out.
This was one of the most common computer viruses in 2000, for it is considered as one of the most toxic viruses ever created. ILOVEYOU started from Philippines, and a very large amount of computers were infected by it; even some large corporations were exposed to massive financial loss. Back then, when that virus began to seep into virtual world, it was sent as an adorable love letter. Surely people got curious; trying to know who their secret admirers were, they opened the letters. Upon opening the email attachment, the virus would automatically send itself to your first 50 contacts, and that happens right after unleashing a damaging software onto your computer. This virus forced some of large corporations to temporarily turn their mailing systems offline, so they won’t get their computers infected.
9 Poison Ivy
No, it is not the good-looking villainess from Batman, but another dangerous computer virus that was used to be perceived as a nightmare since it threatened the computers security. Poison ivy was known as a Remote Access Trojan, and that is because it serves as a back door, giving the attacker a full control over the victim’s computer. Once poison ivy is installed into one’s computer, the attacker is given the ability to full manipulate the computer contents; he/ she can even use the speaker and the webcam to record all the victim’s actions audio and video.
Melissa was the name of a Floridan exotic dancer. The virus was formed as a word document, named Melissa, and it was actually a fake document claiming that it contains a list of passwords for several pornography sites. David L. Smith was Melissa’s creator; he used the dancer’s name, so people would be encouraged to download the corrupted file and open it. Once these actions were taken, the virus starts sending itself to all the contacts in the user’s address book causing email traffic. This virus consequently damaged the email services of large corporations and governments. Melissa virus didn’t stay around for long, for David L. Smith was captured, and wasn’t allowed to use networks unless under an authorization.
This one is considered the fastest spreading virus since the creation of ILOVEYOU. MyDoom is another virus that acts as a back door, giving full access to the victim’s software. Like other viruses, it is sent in a form of an email that the unaware user would innocently open, then the harmful code would download itself and start plundering the victim user’s contacts. This virus would also overload the computer with information gathered from other multiple systems, and would keep send bouncing emails, infected ones for sure, until the computer’s operating system can no longer survive, and BOOM! It is totally disrupted.
Zeus virus started in 2007, and up till today, it is still a threatening tool, for it works on obtaining all the personal information and the credentials of login of any of the following: email, social accounts, and even banking accounts. Since technology is in progress and internet banking has become a trend, Zeus has become far more threatening than it ever was, because our identities are no longer only attached to name, dates of birth, or social security number, but are now linked to bank accounts too.
This one was the first to cause damage beyond the virtual world, for it was the reason behind ruining half of the nuclear centrifuges of Iran. This virus was mainly created to target the softwares of Siemens to bring its systems down. In case this computer worm, Stuxnet, infected a non-Siemens computer, it would not be active, however it would still cause mild damage, but not to the extent of sacrificing itself.
4 Code Red
Here is a fun fact about this computer worm; it was named that way for its creators were laying down drinking Code Red Mountain Dew at the time this discovery was brought to being. This virus’s main target was the computers with the web servers of Microsoft IIS installed. Once these computers are infected with Code Red, the virus starts copying itself in great numbers, wiping out most of the system resources. Code Red once overthrew the public website of The White House scaring away multiple agencies and forcing them to shut their websites off for a while. Although Code Red has caused severe damages at first, it is now considered the least threatening.
Fizzer is a computer worm created purely for money robbery. Like many other viruses, once it infects a computer, it starts sending out spams through the email to different contacts existing in the addresses book of the user. Fizzer was not as fast as Code Red, but still caused enough disasters that stimulated Microsoft to offer $250,000 for whomever gave out information that would lead them to capture the creators.
Conficker first showed up in 2008, and was known among programmers as Downup while other virus experts called it “Super Bug” due to its complexity; once it starts it is so difficult, or almost impossible, to put an end to. This bug worked by taking advantage of the software’s flaws, creating a botnet. Attackers used it for stealing information, however the original aim that this virus was created for is still unknown. During it’s hub, in 2008 a group of experts were pulled together fully committed to work on stopping that virus.
Here is one more virus that teaches us how significant and important antivirus programs are, and not just that; these programs are not really enough if you don’t have a backup plan to rely on when things worsen. Slammer, commonly known as Sapphire too, is a worm dedicated for destroying both private and public services by attacking their key services, causing them to permanently stop. It spreads rapidly, for once the first server is infected, the number of victims is doubled in a matter of seconds. Bank of America was one of this virus’s victims.