Looking back: Viruses that led to a path of destruction

Remember the devastation that these viruses caused?

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Viruses

The world of computer viruses has changed drastically over the last 25 or so years. In the early days, internet users were very naïve towards email attachments, contributing to the alarming speed that viruses could spread across the globe. These days, viruses very rarely land in our inboxes due to preconfigured firewalls and strict measures from the likes of Gmail and Outlook. SSLs.com compiled this list in looking at the destructive viruses that wreaked havoc on the Internet.

Morris

Morris

The Morris worm was on one of the first worms to be distributed via the Internet, wreaking havoc across several thousand university, research centers and military computers. The worm was intended to be harmless, but Robert Morris made a programming mistake resulting in the virus spreading much quicker than anticipated.

Melissa

Melissa

Melissa, a mass-mailing virus, infected up to 20% of computers worldwide. Named after a stripper the creator met in Florida, the virus forwarded itself to the first 50 addresses in Outlook.

ILoveYou

ILoveYou

Around 45 million Windows PCs were thought to have been infected by this virus. Few could resist its enticing “ILOVEYOU” subject line and “Love-Letter-for-you.txt.vbs” attachment, which stole passwords and sent copies of itself to emails in the computer’s address book.

Anna Kournikova

Anna Kournikova

The cleverly named Anna Kournikova worm allegedly contained explicit pictures of the tennis star, tricking users into opening the infected attachment. The worm plundered the address book of Outlook and sent itself to everyone listed.

Code Red

Code Red

The Code Red worm attacked computers running Microsoft’s IIS web server. It exploited a known buffer overflow vulnerability, allowing the worm to run code from within the IIS server, and running entirely on memory.

Sircam

Sircam

Sircam infected computers running Windows 95, 98 and ME, spreading via email, attachment and sending random documents to email addresses in the host’s address book. This resulted in many personal or private files being emailed to people.

Nimda

Nimda

Nimda (admin spelled backwards) hit the web in 2001, spreading rapidly due to its several propagation techniques, including email, network, browsing infected websites and backdoors left by Code Red.

SQL Slammer

SQL Slammer

SQL Slammer caused a denial of service on Internet hosts that slowed general Internet traffic substantially. The slowdown was caused by routers crippling under the burden of extremely high bombardment traffic from infected servers.

Blaster

Blaster

After infecting Windows-based PCs, the blaster worm was programmed to start a denial-of-service attack on windowsupdate.com. However, this domain redirected to windows update.microsoft.com, allowing Microsoft to minimize damage by temporarily shutting this domain down.

SoBig.F

SoBig.F

The SoBig worm infected millions of Internet connected Windows computers. It was distributed by email attachment, and deactivated on Sept. 10, 2003. Computers with out of date system clocks are still vulnerable to infection.

MyDoom

MyDoom

Mydoom was the fastest-spreading email worm of its time, exceeding Sobig and ILOVEYOU. It was distributed through email attachments and the Kazaa peer-to-peer network.

Sasser

Sasser

The Sasser worm infected PCs by exploiting a vulnerable network port. Infected Windows machines slowed down or crashed completely, and forced flight company Delta Air to ground several trans-Atlantic flights.