Welcome friends to the first installment of my weekly Computer and Electronics discussion. Here I will be talking about all things computer and electronics related. Some weeks I will be discussing Security both with computers and electronics, and some I will be doing reviews of various products. I will also discuss privacy issues in computers and the security fields, and will also showcase the history of the computers and electronics we use in our lives.
For this first topic I will be discussing notable computer viruses.
Every one hates getting a virus. They are annoying, destructive, and can wreak some serious havoc, but some are much much worse than others. Some are just a nuisance that cause slow downs, or give you X-rated pop-ups non stop. Some just make your mouse do funny things. Others destroy files, and stop your computer from working properly. Even worse are the ones that lock you out of your computer entirely until paying exorbitant fees. But which ones through history have gained notoriety? Sit back and enjoy.
A long long time ago, in a galaxy far away..... wait a minute, this isn't Star Wars is it? Anyway, In 1974, there was an appearance of the first quasi-destructive computer virus. Although it wasn't really a virus, but something called a "fork bomb". Its very similar to a denial of service attack, but instead of attacking servers, it was designed to attack your personal computer. How it worked is it would infect the computer, and create an erroneous process. That in turn would create another process, and another, and so on. The victims computer would slow down dramatically as more and more bogus processes were created. Eventually it would reach a thresh hold where the computer does not have enough resources to run properly and would crash. While not really destroying data directly, remember, back then the majority of computers were running off tape-drives, and were very vulnerable to viruses, so if you were backing up something to tape when this happened, data would be easily corrupted.
Now let's take a trip to 1981 and the IBM PC. It was the first computer the average person could own in their own home. It was bulky, and had no internal storage. Instead it relied on removable media such as floppy disks to store its operating system. As a result, it was vulnerable to boot sector viruses, as was discovered 5 years later. Along comes the Brain computer virus.
Brain was released in its first form in January 1986, and is considered to be the first computer virus for MS-DOS. It infects the boot sector of storage media formatted with the DOS File Allocation Table (FAT) file system. Brain was written by two brothers, Basit Farooq Alvi and Amjad Farooq Alvi, from Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. Brain affects the IBM PC computer by replacing the boot sector of a floppy disk with a copy of the virus. The real boot sector is moved to another sector and marked as bad. Infected disks usually have five kilobytes of bad sectors. The disk label is changed to ©Brain, and the following text can be seen in infected boot sectors:
Welcome to the Dungeon (c) 1986 Basie & Amends (pvt) Ltd VIRUS_SHOE RECORD V9.0 Dedicated to the dynamic memories of millions of viruses who are no longer with us today - Thanks GOODNESS!! BEWARE OF THE er..VIRUS : this program is catching program follows after these messages....$#@%$@!!
There are many minor and major variations to that version of the text. The virus slows down the floppy disk drive and makes seven kilobytes of memory unavailable to DOS. Brain was written by Amjad Farooq Alvi, who at the time lived in Chairman, near Lahore Railway Station, in Lahore, Pakistan. The brothers told TIME magazine they had written it to protect their medical software from piracy, and it was supposed to target copyright infringement only. The cryptic message "Welcome to the Dungeon", a safeguard and reference to an early programming forum on Dungeon BBS, appeared after a year because the brothers licensed a beta version of the code. The brothers could not be contacted to receive the final release of this version of the program.
Thats all for the first installation of my new series, tell me what you guys think, and feel free to discuss what I've shared with you.
Next week I'll be showcasing the history of the Microsoft Windows Operating system, from Windows 3.1 up to Windows 10. And A real treat for you is in store. Screenshots of how the operating systems looked. Your gonna like it