30 Shocking and Interesting Facts about Computer Viruses

Computer viruses aren’t new. We install the antivirus to keep viruses away from our computer. Like we create the computer program, we also create the computer virus. Not with lousy intention but for the experiment. There are very few instances of virus infection until mid-1990, but now there are so many viruses that we can’t count.

A computer virus is a program that can regenerate itself and spread across different devices. It can spread through removal devices, home or office network, and through the internet. Here we are listing some shocking and interesting facts about computer viruses that will help you to understand it and stay away from it.

30 Shocking Facts about Computer Viruses


Bob Thomas, a computer programmer at BBN Technology, created first computer virus in 1971. The first computer virus name was Creeper, and it was found on Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) the precursor of the Internet. This virus could self-generate, and it was created for the experimental purpose.


The First computer virus for MS-DOS name was Brain, and in January 1986 it was first seen. It infects the boot sector of storage media and moves the real boot sector to another location marking it bad.


The most dangerous MS-DOS virus was Michelangelo which was first found on 4 February 1991. This virus has a self-replicating ability, and it stays idle until March 6 each year. On March 6 it overwrites the first hundred sectors of the hard disk to null. March 6 is the birthday of Italian artist Michelangelo. It is how they name this virus, though there was no reference to the artist in the virus.


As of now viruses or malicious software can be described in three categories. Viruses, Worms, and Trojan Horses. These all three has the same instructions and computer logic, but their behaviours differentiate them.


Trojan Horse is malicious software that hides its true intention from users. The source of the name was the ancient Greek story of a deceptive wooden horse. The wooden horse was used to enter the city of Troy to mislead them and win the war.

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70% of the virus writers are hired by crime syndicates to work for them on a contract basis.


There have been only a few female virus writers so far. Typically a virus writer is a male between 14 and 25 years of age.


Melissa virus was so dangerous that it forced Microsoft and other companies to stop their mailing services to eradicate it. This virus was classified as the macro virus as it was not a standalone program and not a worm.


The most expensive virus was MyDoom active during 2004 which causes $38.5 billion of damages worldwide.


Earlier, when the internet was not that much popular, computer viruses used removable drives to spread, mainly Floppy disk. When users exchanged floppy disks, it infects their computer. Most spreading Floppy disk virus was Elk Cloner written by Rich Skrenta a 15-year-old student. He created this virus as a joke and inserted it in a game floppy. When a user runs the game 51 times, it gets triggered and displayed a poem about the virus.


40% of US household computers have virus infection according to Microsoft Security Intelligence Report and Consumer Report.


The United States is at the highest risk of the computer virus attack after Russia.


Still, writing a computer virus is not illegal in the United States. Many counties have no strict rule against creating a virus. Recently, different countries starting to draft strict law against computer crimes. Finland is one of them that make creating a virus as an illegal act.


Amazon.com name was most used to steal user’s information through phishing attack after Apple and eBay.


More than 6000 computer viruses are created every month.

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MalwareFox is a reliable anti-malware software runs alongside antivirus to find infections which cannot be detected easily.


With such widespread computer viruses, various types of criminal computer activity such as cyber warfare, cyber terrorism, and cyber extortion have emerged.


It is easy to join the most famous network of hacking activists the Anonymous. However, there are only a few capable hackers that can actually exploit the security flaws and write a computer virus.


An estimation says that 90% of emails contain some malware.


Don’t need to worry; you cannot get a virus infection by just reading an email. It only spread when you click on a link or download the attachment on your computer.


It has seen that typically virus writers start as children to test their programming skills.


Only 50 computer viruses were visible during the late 1990s. Now the number of viruses has gone crossing 48000.


32% of computers in the world have some malware infection, meaning almost one in every three computers.


To find the vulnerability and secure their network Facebook pays $500 to anyone who hacks their network.


With so many antivirus and security programs there is still not a single program that can detect and neutralize all computer threats.


Most harmful virus ever was ILOVEYOU or Love Letter. Reonel Ramones and Onel De Guzman, the Filipino programmers in 2000, created it. At that time this virus infects around 10% of the computer connected through the internet. This virus overwrites random files such as office files, images, and audio files. It then replicates itself and sends itself to all the addresses in Microsoft Outlook, which makes it faster to spread than previous worms.


Storm worm spread to approx 50 million computers within nine months in 2007. This worm spread with the email message containing fake storm news.


Computer viruses can be written in different computer languages. One can write it in assembly language, the scripting language such as Visual Basic, C, C++, Java and macro programming language etc.


Virus writers and hackers are not always the same.


One out of every 14 programs downloaded from the internet is malicious in nature.


Computer viruses are causing billions of dollars of damage each year. They are increasing the cost of maintaining the computer system.

You might find these facts shocking, and yes they are. The scariest one is 1 of 14 programs on the internet are malicious. We keep downloading various tools from the internet without thinking about it. It also has been seen that free and pirated software most often contains malware. Spam emails and free software is the prime method of spreading malware.

Various adware, PUPs are emerging each day waiting to enter in your computer. Most of these adware doesn’t display ad of genuine products. They make you click on the ad so that they can lead you to a malicious website. They collect your information like what you browse on the internet, what you search, and then they personalize these ads according to your choices to trick you.

WannaCry Ransomware Effect

Recent widespread and damaging threat was WannaCry Ransomware. It spread with the help of spam emails. The email contains attachments named invoice that tricks users to download it. Then it leads users to enable the macro to view the file. Once they do so, it downloads the actual ransomware from a remote server and starts encrypting personal data. It leaves the ransom note on the desktop as wallpaper and inside folders as a text file. Users were asked to deposit the ransom money in the form of Bitcoin to get the decryption key.

With so many types of computer threats around us, the only thing that can help us is the awareness. Introducing ourselves with the above facts about viruses surely help us. We also need to keep looking on popular computer security news sites, so that when a new threat emerges, we get notified about the prevention steps.

We should always install an excellent antimalware such as MalwareFox and keep its signature updated. Also, never avoid the updates to other programs and your operating system. When a new threat exploits a security flaw, software companies introduce updates with fixed issues, So that other users didn’t get the infection.

No single security suite can guarantee the protection from all computer threats. We should rely on the reputed programs and keep increasing our awareness.

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