Computer viruses have been a big part of our computer life—though obviously not in a good way. All of us have experienced its annoying wrath. Some made random pop-ups of pornography; some automatically restarts the computer; some erases the entire hard drive; and some will make the computer a zombie or a robot. The impact that viruses have has been enormous, there have been years where its damages have reached billions. Yes. BILLIONS.
Want to know what viruses are these? Read below. They are the viruses that are household names:
YEAR DEBUTED: October 26, 2001
WHAT IT DOES: It starts through an e-mail in the Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express, then Infects Microsoft OS and exposes some weaknesses of Internet Explorer’s Trident layout engine. The e-mail in which the worm spreads has a text and a couple of attachments in an HTML format. Those 2 contain an enticing text to make the receiver open the attached file, either saying it was a Microsoft patch or a Klez solution tool.
If the worm is executed, either by a buggy HTML engine or manually by a user, it finds addresses to send itself to. The mail it sends includes an infected attached file, which may cause breaching of privacy.
In the following months, the worm would use various addresses, randomly selecting from the infected Outlook address book, which made it even more harder to know which machines are already infected.
ILOVEYOU a.k.a WIN-BUGSFIX.EXE
CREATOR: Onel De Guzman and Reonel Ramones
YEAR DEBUTED: May 2000
WHAT IT DOES:It travelled the net by e-mail, just like majority of viruses. The subject of the e-mail indicated that it was a love letter from a secret admirer. And like the previous virus, the attached file was the one who caused problems.
Several anti-virus programs stated that the virus outbreak came in in the FF. ways:
Duplicated itself and hid the copies in numerous folders on the victim’s hard drive.
Added files to the victim’s registry keys.
Changed different kinds of files with copies of itself.
Sent itself over e-mails Internet Chat clients.
Downloaded a file name WIN-BUGSFIX.EXE from the Internet and executed it. Instead of fixing bugs, the program became a password-stealing application that e-mailed confidential information to the e-mail address of the hacker.
The virus hit major companies and government agencies in its peak. Damages were estimated to be $ 10 Billion.
Because no laws were written at that time with regards to such acts, De Guzman and Ramones were left uncharged.
DATE DEBUTED: September 18, 2001
WHAT IT DOES: Nimda was one of the fastest viruses to spread from the time of its release; it only took 23 minutes to reach the top of reported virus attacks.
The worm of Nimda produced an indirect entrance in the victim’s OS—which allowed the culprit of the attack to gain the same access and control to whichever account was currently logged in.
In its later months, Nimda also expanded its attack to iPods and Symbian phones. As illustrated in the image above, the icons of infected phones would change into a skull logo.
It would take a couple of years before Nimda was slowed down.
W32/Sasser.worm and Worm.Win32.NetSky
CREATOR: Sven Jaschan
DATE DEBUTED: April 30, 2004
WHAT IT DOES: The Sasser worm attacks the weakness of Microsoft Windows and once it infects a computer, it searches right away for new vulnerable systems. The virus would scour through random IP addresses to find possible victims; it also changed the victim’s O.S. to something that would make the system hard to be shut down without cutting off power.
Netsky, on the other hand, travelled through emails and networks. Like most viruses, it hid itself into fake e-mail addresses and has an attached file. When it disseminates, it may cause a ‘Dos’ or Denial Of Service and the systems might breakdown trying to handle the overload of internet traffic. During its peak, experts said that Netsky was responsible for 25% of computer viruses in the world.
Because he was a minor at the time of the creation and arrest, 17-year-old Sven Jaschan did not do any jail time and was sentenced to a 21-month probation.
Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Small.dam or Storm Worm
TYPE: Trojan Horse / Worm
DATE DEBUTED: Late 2006
WHAT IT DOES: It also spread through the e-mail, it was coined “Storm Worm” because the mail had a subject that said “230 dead as storm batters Europe”. This virus is a Trojan Horse program and it makes the infected computers into a standstill. Hence, it becomes vulnerable to remote controls with the attacking hacker. Most hackers use this worm to generate abotnet and make a spam mail out of it.
Users are usually tricked into downloading the application because of the various fake links—like news stories and video clips. Hackers would often change the subject of the e-mail to whichever news were trending at the time. Like the War in Iran, ’08 Olympics, etc. (As illustrated in the image to the left)
Upon clicking, what users thought to be links to news was actually an activation of the Storm Worm virus.
As 2007 entered, the computer industry have labelled the Storm Worm as possibly the worst virus attack of all-time. In July of the same year, a security company made a study and estimated that the virus had accounted for over 200 million e-mails.
Taking care of our computers is synonymous of taking care of our health—Prevention is always better than cure—and that is constant. Let’s make it a priority of updating our anti-virus software; always be cautious and smart when receiving e-mails or suspicious links. It will save you a lot of time, money, and stress.
For more information on taking better care of the security of your computers, click HERE and learn about CMS IT’s Managed IT Security Services.