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Top 10 most dangerous computer viruses

Top 10 most dangerous computer viruses

Ever since the creation of the first computer in 1833, humanity has always been curious about the potential that it had to influence the society that was built around it, and today, almost 190 years later, one cannot even imagine life without it. Computers came with a new agenda, a promise to revolutionize the information and communications industry. To bring a change so drastic, the common man would not even recognize the world before its creation. However, it also comes with a dark side. A side so dangerous that a simple click of a button can destabilize lives, expose the deepest secrets and even sabotage governments. And major contributing factors to this dark side are viruses

A virus, or Vital Information Resources Under Siege, is a computer program or a malicious code written to alter the way in which a computer operates and functions, by embedding itself into the computer’s OS. The first virus, also known as a “Creeper System” was a self-replicating virus created in 1971 by an individual by the name of Bob Thomas, to test if self-replication was possible. This virus was a very basic piece of code, designed to replicate itself until it filled up the hardware memory or until system failure. However, as history would have it, this was not to be the last. Exposed to the success of the Creeper System.

An MS DOS virus by the name of “Brain” was created and released in 1986, which would overwrite sectors on a floppy disk to prevent the computer from starting. Hundreds more of such viruses were created in the subsequent years, but none of them had an effect so profound on the Internet as the “The Morris”, which was the world’s first penetration attack, leading to thousands of passwords being compromised and a grand total of over 15,000 computers left infected.

Websites are tricking visitors into using the idea of Dark Patterns for years. Sites often use misleading words to make people fall for such tricks but if you as a visitor, can be attentive regarding such gimmicks then you can recoup your information to get tracked.

In order to protect ourselves from these malicious programs, one needs to be acquainted with the different types of viruses and how they affect our computers. Let’s kick start the list with one of the most common ones, a file infecting virus

Parasitic Viruses

A file infecting virus is usually seen as .exe files and other executable pieces of code. They are also known as parasitic viruses and are usually downloaded along with other legitimate folders from the internet to mask its true identity from the end victim. They are capable of overwriting host files, change and redefine hard drive formatting and even alter personal details stored in the system. The most well known file injection virus goes by the name of Win32.Sality.BK, which infected Microsoft Windows Systems and targeted all .scr or .exe files in a computer’s C drive. However, any victims were unaware of its propagation as it did not affect those files which were scanned by the System File Checker. Such Sality viruses ended up lowering Window’s base security and made the host computer more vulnerable to other viral attacks.

Macro Viruses

Moving on the next most common virus type, we have the Macro Virus. Such viruses are found usually in Microsoft Word or Excel Sheet Documents and spread to other host computers usually through email attachments. The most well known of macro virus is the Melissa virus, dating back to March 26, 1999, created by an individual by the name of David.L.Smith. The main goal of this virus was to mass mail Excel Sheets to various randomized email addresses to create considerable network traffic. This mail would then be forwarded to the first 50 people stored in the victim’s contacts. This generated traffic would then disable multiple safeguard features and which would then result in the computer becoming more vulnerable to other macro virus attacks.

Hijacker Viruses

Coming to a virus that all of us have been exposed to at one point in our browsing history, a Browser Hijacker virus. These viruses target browser settings and are capable of redirecting your browsing traffic to websites you never intended to visit, and can also lead to downloading of malicious programs that further infiltrate your computer. The most common of Browser Hijacker viruses is the Ask Toolbar Virus, which is usually offered along with other legitimate products during installation. This virus is most commonly known for replacing Chrome browser settings and replacing the computer’s default search engines without permission.

Web Scripting Virus

Here comes the most dangerous of all viruses mentioned so far, known to the common man as a Web Scripting virus. Such viruses are dangerous as there are no known ways to identify a web scripting virus as it can rewrite website source code to lead to the downloading of trojans, malware and many other malicious pieces of code. Such viruses can also steal cookie data and personal information pre-stored in the computer. The worm ILoveYou was written by a web scripter which infected over 10,000,000 windows personal computers in the month of May, 2000 by spreading emails with love letters and other intimate messages. This virus led to the compromising of millions of personal databases and even leaked them online.

Boot Sector Virus

A Boot Sector virus is one the primordial virus types and was used when computers were booted through the use of floppy disks. “Brain” was such a virus and led to the booting of a computer from a remote memory location that allowed the attacker to access the OS of the system. Many of these virus types are distributed through physical media such as hard disks or USB drives.

Polymorphic Virus

This type of virus is usually applied to high end computers to bypass encryption. It has the ability to evade anti-virus programs and mask itself from the systems firewalls and file checkers and goes by the name of polymorphic viruses. Tequila is one such polymorphic virus, and was written by two Swedish brothers in 1991 using a variable encryption algorithm which makes it very hard to detect. This virus creates residues of itself in the system’s memory which ensures that the virus can never truly be removed.

Multipartite Virus

The last type of virus that is seen off late is the Multipartite Virus, which is highly infectious and infects many sectors such as system memory, files, boot sectors and is extremely difficult to contain. Flip and Invader is one such virus which is capable of completely taking over a computer and is best known for highly increasing traffic to your computer.

Conclusion

And there you have it, the most dangerous computer viruses that have been created! As we settle down in the digital age and the era of telecommunications, knowledge regarding its upper hands and shortcomings will prove to be very useful if we are to safeguard our information and identity from the hackers of the world. Always remember to install appropriate firewalls, antivirus softwares from trusted companies and constantly update your OS settings. Follow these practices and it will ensure your safety in this world of danger.

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