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The Most Disruptive Computer Viruses the World Has Ever Seen

Every year, millions of businesses and individuals lose billions upon billions of dollars due to computer viruses. Almost everybody who has ever owned a computer or laptop has experienced some form of computer virus at some point – and we’re all familiar with that awful, sinking feeling when you begin to notice the initial signs of a virus – regular computer crashes, error messages, and antivirus software that you never installed performing random ‘scans’ on your computer. In the worst case scenario, viruses can spread to other computers and hardware, result in the permanent loss of important files, and completely ruin your computer. The first computer virus was created forty years ago, and these malicious software programs have been an issue that have plagued the internet ever since. Here are some computer viruses that are amongst the absolute worst in history.

Elk Cloner (1982)

Although Elk Cloner thankfully didn’t harm a lot of computers, it was the first virus of its kind as it had the ability to spread extensively on its own. Created by a high school prankster named Richard Skrenta – who’s now funnily enough an experienced computer programmer – Elk Cloner infected boot sectors, leaving a message that simply said: ‘It will get on all your disks. It will infiltrate your chips. Yes it’s Cloner!’

Morris Worm (1998)

Morris Worm was a computer virus that gained plenty of mainstream media attention, as it resulted in the first conviction under the US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986. Over 6,000 UNIX systems were affected by this virus, which attacked vulnerabilities multiple times, causing the system to become unstable. Robert Tappan Morris, the creator, was given a $10,000 fine and sentenced to three years’ probation and 400 hours of community service.


Sent in the form of emails that seemingly appeared to contain a love letter from somebody that the recipient knew, ILOVEYOU was a virus that affected tens of millions of computers and caused $8.75 billion in damage through spamming of contacts and creating changes to computer systems. Onel A. de Guzman, a student at AMA Computer University in Makati, Philippines, admitted to dispatching the virus, but claimed that it was all an accident. Just goes to show that unless you’ve got a good hard drive or SD card recovery system in place, don’t open suspicious looking emails!

Blaster Worm (2003)

When Blaster, a worm that launched a denial of service attack on Microsoft’s company website caused around $320 million worth of damage, Microsoft launched an investigation into finding the culprit, even offering a cash reward for anyone who could provide any viable information. Unfortunately the creator was never found, but when Jeffrey Lee Parson was found to be the creator of the B variant in 2005, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison for his actions.
Have you ever been affected by one of the above viruses? Or, have you been affected by another virus not listed above, and would like to share your story? We’d love to hear from you in the comments
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