Computer viruses are rampant, and their cloaked, sophisticated appearance has become crafted in perceived digital innocence. Here are some of the most malignant viruses that web developers have ever seen:
Oh, isn’t that sweet! But this isn’t a love note. It was a self-replicating malicious virus that travelled through email and instant messages. It carried an ever-so-sweet subject line, ILOVEYOU, suggesting an admirer.
The Love virus forced its way upon unwilling participants in 2000 as it copied itself and hid in different folders on the recipient’s hard drive. Talk about a lover that won’t go away!
The files were overridden with new ones created to the registry keys, stealing passwords and emailed to the hacker’s address. How extensive was this love? Over $10 billion in damages!
Where did the name come from? The 2006 virus carried a subject line to recipients that read “230 dead as storm batters Europe”, and when it was clicked, it allowed hackers to overtake computers and send spam. The virus was detected on over 200 million emails and spread quickly through fake link downloads to news stories and videos. Its success ensued because the subject line would change to reflect current news and events, enticing the users to click.
Such an innocent sounding name, but deceptive for sure! The malicious virus in 1999 caused a torrential viral email disaster. Email servers had to be disabled temporarily, as Melissa was the first true “virus” that travelled from one computer to another.
Corporate networks were met with a barrage of infected email messages that originated from Microsoft Outlook when users clicked on their emails. Contained therein was an infected Word attachment that sent itself to the first 50 names in the user’s address book. It was successful because the recipient of course recognized the name(s) and therefore trusted it to open it, especially since the email referred to a documented that they had supposedly requested.
It debuted the summer of 1999, after Melissa’s onslaught, and replicated much of Melissa’s bad behavior.
The worm randomly altered files and deleted Word, PowerPoint and Excel files, and like Melissa, travelled through emails from familiar recipients. The email messages displayed a (fake) error message to the user that contained an infected file, although it did not use Outlook to gather addresses.
The virus carefully watched the user’s inbox for activity and then sent auto replies to the sender by using the same email subject that was contained in the original message.
What appears to be a harmless link to survey software can be a deadly code that wipes your hard drive clean. To add insult to injury, you could possibly share that lovely virus with your address book contacts and not even know it. How embarrassing!
Computer viruses can be disturbing and huge inconveniences, at the least. They are dangerous and expensive for computer owners, causing them to have to reload files or install recovery software. Viruses can affect millions of users and cause severe damage and delays. If it looks questionable and you have doubts, don’t click.