Top 10 MOST DANGEROUS Computer Viruses Of All Time
Most of us have gotten a computer virus or two before. Browsing around on some risque parts of the internet, then all of a sudden you've picked yourself up an unwanted hitchhiker along the way. For this installment, we're taking a look at 10 of the Worst Computer Viruses of all time.
MyDoom has a myriad of names, including W32.MyDoom@mm, Novarg, Mimain.R and Shimgapi. This computer worm affects Microsoft Windows and was first spotted on January 26th, 2004. Known as the fastest-spreading e-mail worm to date, the worm is believed to have spread from Russia, though the actual location and even creator are unknown. The virus would come in an email stating "Andy; I'm just doing my job, nothing personal, sorry." The virus is another that spams our emails, and it’s believed that it was created to target the SCO Group - as twenty-five percent of the infected hosts targeted www.sco.com. In January of 2004, Microsoft offered a reward of $250,000 leading to the arrest of the creator, which again, has still yet to be claimed. Mydoom and its variants are said to have caused $38.5 billion in damages, making it the worst reported computer worm in history.
This virus carries such a harmless little message for something that was responsible for so much damage. The "ILOVEYOU" virus, created by Reonel Ramones and Onel de Guzman of the Philippines, was introduced to the world on May 4th, 2000, and spread so quickly that it was estimated to have hit around 45 million users in less than one day, and within 10 days, infected an estimated 10% of networked computers in the entire world. The virus comes in an e-mail with "I LOVE YOU" as the subject - inside of which is an attachment that will spam the virus out to everyone's Microsoft Outlook contacts, but also deleted many of the media files from the recipients' harddrive, mainly including all pictures and MP3 files. For the United States alone, the virus did more than $15 billion in damages and in a twisted string of events, both developers were released of all charges since the Philippines didn't have any laws against writing malware at the time.
The Code Red virus attacked users that ran Microsoft's IIS web server. First noticed by eEye Digital Security employee, Marc Maiffre, he named the worm Code Red, as that was what he was drinking when he discovered it on July 13th, 2001. The worm was famous for displaying the message "HELLO! Welcome to http://www.worm.com! Hacked By Chinese!" It spread itself with a bombardment of the letter "N", overflowing a buffer and allowing the worm to execute arbitrary code within the machine. The virus was so popular, that it inspired another virus, simply called "Code Red II," on August 4th of the same year and eEye believes the worm originated in Makati City, Philippines, the same place of origin as the "ILOVEYOU" virus. In the end, the virus was said to have cost $2.6 billion in damages.
Alternately called the SQL Worm - this one being a bit misleading, as it did not utilize the SQL language - and Sapphire Worm. The SQL Slammer Worm forced denial of service on certain internet hosts and exploited a buffer overflow bug in Microsoft's flagship SQL Server and Desktop Engine database products - which in turn greatly reduced the speed of general internet traffic. It was first noticed on January 25th, 2003 and spread at an unprecedented speed, infecting most of it's estimated 75,000 victims within ten minutes of the initial launch and caused roughly $1 billion in damages.
Known by a variety of different names, such as Down, Downadup, Kido and of course Conficker, this computer worm was first noticed in November of 2008 and targets and exploits flaws within the Microsoft Windows operating systems. These flaws allow it to launch dictionary attacks on the administrative passwords to propagate while forming a botnet. The Conficker virus has infected millions of computers, from homes, businesses, and even government computers across 180 countries. This particular virus has been increasingly difficult to handle, as it possesses a vast array of malware techniques. Since 2009, Microsoft has had a $250,000 bounty reward leading to the capture of those responsible for the virus - which still has yet to be claimed.
Storm Worm (Nuwar)
Starting in January of 2007, the Storm Worm began attacking thousands of computers in the United States and Europe, and within just 1 week after launch, was responsible for 8% of all malware infections globally. Containing its very own SMTP or simple main transfer protocol engine - it allowed it to copy itself as an attachment and send itself off to your contacts. The infection gained access through clickbait emails, usually titled along the lines of "230 dead as storm batters Europe" and "Saddam Hussein alive!" Once the attachment is opened, the malware installs the wincom32 service, and injects a payload, passing on packets to destinations encoded within the malware itself.
The Zeus virus, or sometimes called the Zbot, is a malware program that allows someone to construct their very own Trojan Horse. This toolkit was actually sold across the black market - ranging from $3000 to $10,000 - as it is so easy to use, non-programmers could use it to make their own horses successfully. The malware would remain dormant on the infected user's machine until they came across a web page with a form to fill out. It gained its major bit of notoriety in 2006, as a common choice for hackers and criminals to steal online banking credentials. The worms built by the Zeus toolkit are so adaptable, that they are often times overlooked by anti-virus programs - and according to a report by Trusteer, nearly 77% of all PC's that are infected with Zeus Trojans have current up-to-date anti-virus programs.
A slightly newer virus than the one just mentioned, those running Windows 2000 and Windows XP were vulnerable to the Sasser virus. First noticed on April 12th, 2004, this worm is yet another that exploits buffer overflow of the LSASS. It begins affecting the infected computer by scanning across different ranges of IP addresses, connecting to the victim's computer via TCP port 445. The overall effect of this virus was global, including blocking all satellite communications to Agence France-Presse or the AFP, Delta Air Lines canceling numerous flights, and both the Nordic insurance company If, and parent company Sampo Bank hitting a complete halt and closing 130 offices in Finland alone. In the end, Microsoft issued a $250,000 bounty reward on the creator, which quickly led to the arrest of 18-year-old German computer science student, Sven Jaschan.
This one is described as a macro virus, due to the fact that it’s not a standalone program - needing another program to be triggered - in this case, through Microsoft Word. In March of 1999, David L. Smith would introduce this virus to the internet. The macro virus itself, however, was written by Kwyjibo, aka VicodinES or ALT-F11. This virus was responsible for millions of dollars in damage due to the disruptive influence it had over so many networks. Infected computers would send out emails in mass to anyone in the local PC's email system. The original version came under an email titled "Important Message From... (fill in the blank)", and had managed to infect thousands of computers - including those within government agencies. Although the virus would be minuscule today, in 1999, it had a drastic impact on computers worldwide.