The Worst Computer Viruses & What They Did To The Internet
Computer viruses can be vicious little blighters wreaking all sorts of damage and destruction; destroying files, corrupting hard drives, plundering personal details and slowing the Internet to a crawl. Since the dawn of computing for the masses countless viruses have been released. Today, an estimated one million viruses are in circulation and thousands are created every month.
Computer viruses don’t just slow your computer down and annoy you with popups. Viruses can also steal your credit card information, hold your data hostage and even wipe your hard drive clean. Here’s a look at some of the worst viruses in history.
David L. Smith was:
Fined over £3,000.
Sentenced to 20 months in jail.
Forbidden from accessing computer networks without court authorisation.
The Virus Would
Overwrite file types with copies of itself to let it continue spreading if the original version was removed from the computer.
Reset the infected computer’s Internet Explorer homepage.
Download & execute a file that stole passwords & emailed them to the hacker’s email address.
Send the infected file to all of the user’s contacts in Microsoft Outlook.
- Roughly one tenth of all Internet-connected computers in 2000 were infected with ILOVEYOU.
- Day 1: ILOVEYOU reached an estimated 45 million people.
- Day 7: It caused £3 billion in damages in the first week.
- The virus in total caused an estimated £11 million in damages.
- McAfee reported that a super majority of their future 100 clients were infected with the virus.
Onel de Guzman was:
Arrested on suspicion of creating the virus.
He & his co-conspirator were later released as the Philippines had no laws at the time against writing malware.
- Between 1 and 2 million computers were infected overall.
- In less than a day, the virus infected more than 359,000 computer system.
- Caused over £2 billion in losses.
The virus infected computers in many ways
Drive-by Downloads on websites.
Loopholes created by other worms.
Vulnerabilities in IIS, Microsoft web server.
- Caused $750 million in damages.
- Crashed Bank of America’s ATM service.
- Infected Continental Airlines online ticketing systems and electronic kiosks, rendering them inoperable.
- South Korea lost almost all internet access.
- Sasser brought down a third of Taiwan’s post offices.
- Infected all 19 of the British Coastguard’s control rooms.
- Delayed British Airways’ flights.
- Staff had to use paper maps and pens.
Sven Jaschan was sentenced to:
1 year, 9 months probation.
30 hours of community service.
He was tried as a junior.
Originally began spreading through KaZaA, a file sharing application, but then spread to emails. In both cases, users had to open a file in order to become infected.
As it’s peak, MyDoom infected on in 12 emails as it tried to spread itself. The virus would open parts on a victims’ computer so that hackers would have backdoor access to their systems.
A second attack later that year affected search engines, MyDoom was capable of spoofing its infection emails, making it more difficult to track.
MyDoom infected between 600,000 and 700,000 computers.
- Caused $38 billion in damages.
- Slowed down internet access worldwide by 10%.
- Reduced access to some websites by as much as 50%.
Launched in 2008
Took advantage of an exploit in Windows 2000, XP, and 2003 servers that could case them to install an unauthenticated file. It could even affect servers with firewalls, as long as they had print and file sharing enabled.
Conficker infected millions of computers by infected USB drives and over networks. Later variants were capable of, creating backdoor in firewalls and disabling anti-malware programs.
- Caused $9.1 billion in damage.
- French fighter planes were grounded when they couldn’t download their flight plans.
- In England military systems were infected, including: more than two dozen British Royal Air Force bases.
- 75% of the royal Navy fleet.
- Computers and medical devices at hospitals in the US and UK were infected.