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The Evolution of Computer Viruses

Published on 17 October 14
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Viruses have been plaguing the computing industry for more than 40 years. Over time they have adapted, evolved and attacked everything from personal computers to government organisations. Viruses will never be stopped and even the newest advances in technology arenât immune; in fact, the more we use technology to more we expose ourselves to cyber terrorists.

To really understand the impact that computer viruses have on our daily lives, Cheeky Munkey have compiled and infographic detailing the history and financial implications of malicious software.
The Evolution of Computer Viruses - Image 1
The First Viruses

During the 1940s a mathematician named John Von Neumann theorised the concept of the computer virus. In 1966 he published his first article predicting his vision. Five years later the first virus was born â the Creeper. The Creeper program encouraged security professionals to develop what would become the first ever antivirus software â the Reaper Program.

The first virus designed for personal computers was programmed by a high school student in 1981. It was started as a practical joke and attached to a floppy disc for a video game that was playable on the Apple DOS system. The Elk Cloner caused the first major outbreak in personal computing and set a path for other viruses to follow.

The Evolution of Computer Viruses infographic covers all of the major events in virus history, including the Rabbit and Animal â two of the very first forms of malicious software that affected system performance.
After the Internet

Before the Internet was widely available computer viruses werenât particularly threatening â at least when compared with some of the programs of today. When the Internet became a common feature of the everyday household, however, viruses spread faster than ever before.

The Melissa Virus was probably one of the first to really take advantage of email technology. This virus would attached itself to Outlook and mail a corrupted document to 50 people in the address book. It was also manipulated to effect pre-attached documents. Melissa spread faster than any previous virus and managed to infect an estimated one million PCs.

In the late 90s/early 00s file sharing created a new platform for hackers to spread their malicious software. At one point music files, videos files, picture files, and generic Microsoft documents were all considered threatening data, which killed many of the lesser known file sharing networks.
Cheeky Munkey

Most people donât realise that cyber threats pose a very real danger, even though the industry has drained tens of billions of pounds from the global economy. Cheeky Munkey havenât just developed this infographic to show you impressive statistics and figures, itâs designed to help you make more informed choice with regards to virus checkers, and encourage you to take cyber threats a little more seriously. By reading about the history of computer viruses you will have a much better idea of what they are capable of, and how to not fall victim to their tricks. Even if your system isnât showing any symptoms, you never know whatâs hiding deep within your registry.


Viruses have been plaguing the computing industry for more than 40 years. Over time they have adapted, evolved and attacked everything from personal computers to government organisations. Viruses will never be stopped and even the newest advances in technology arenât immune; in fact, the more we use technology to more we expose ourselves to cyber terrorists.

To really understand the impact that computer viruses have on our daily lives, Cheeky Munkey have compiled and infographic detailing the history and financial implications of malicious software.

The Evolution of Computer Viruses - Image 1

The First Viruses

During the 1940s a mathematician named John Von Neumann theorised the concept of the computer virus. In 1966 he published his first article predicting his vision. Five years later the first virus was born â the Creeper. The Creeper program encouraged security professionals to develop what would become the first ever antivirus software â the Reaper Program.

The first virus designed for personal computers was programmed by a high school student in 1981. It was started as a practical joke and attached to a floppy disc for a video game that was playable on the Apple DOS system. The Elk Cloner caused the first major outbreak in personal computing and set a path for other viruses to follow.

The Evolution of Computer Viruses infographic covers all of the major events in virus history, including the Rabbit and Animal â two of the very first forms of malicious software that affected system performance.

After the Internet

Before the Internet was widely available computer viruses werenât particularly threatening â at least when compared with some of the programs of today. When the Internet became a common feature of the everyday household, however, viruses spread faster than ever before.

The Melissa Virus was probably one of the first to really take advantage of email technology. This virus would attached itself to Outlook and mail a corrupted document to 50 people in the address book. It was also manipulated to effect pre-attached documents. Melissa spread faster than any previous virus and managed to infect an estimated one million PCs.

In the late 90s/early 00s file sharing created a new platform for hackers to spread their malicious software. At one point music files, videos files, picture files, and generic Microsoft documents were all considered threatening data, which killed many of the lesser known file sharing networks.

Cheeky Munkey

Most people donât realise that cyber threats pose a very real danger, even though the industry has drained tens of billions of pounds from the global economy. Cheeky Munkey havenât just developed this infographic to show you impressive statistics and figures, itâs designed to help you make more informed choice with regards to virus checkers, and encourage you to take cyber threats a little more seriously. By reading about the history of computer viruses you will have a much better idea of what they are capable of, and how to not fall victim to their tricks. Even if your system isnât showing any symptoms, you never know whatâs hiding deep within your registry.

This blog is listed under Development & Implementations Community

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  1. 22 October 14
    0

    Thanks James for the insight about computer viruses.

    Interesting to read it.

  2. 20 October 14
    0

    great article Mr james

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