The fact that the internet has become so heavily relied on and needed by both individuals and businesses in society has also made it a prime target for hackers all over the world. What were the most catastrophic computer viruses to take control of our computer systems, and how much damage did they actually cause? Read on to find out about the most damaging computer viruses of all time.
Mydoom – even the word itself seems like something awful, and this computer virus certainly was. In what seemed like a harmless e-mail, Mydoom was a worm that was sent to the victims’ email address in an e-mail that just looked like a bounced message. When the unsuspecting recipient opened the email, the virus would download, and pilfer the victim’s Outlook address book. Then, it would spread to any of the victim’s contacts, spreading too fast for regular IT companies such as Mtservices.co.uk to manage. It affected 2,000,000 PC computers, and caused almost £25,000,000,000 worth of damage – ouch!
Similar in a way to Mydoom, Sobig.F was also a worm virus that was sent to its victims via email, and then replicated itself. As it disguised itself in something other than malware, this virus was also a Trojan. Once the recipient had opened the email containing the worm, it triggered the worm to then hunt for other email addresses which then also received the virus. Sobig.F managed to ground Air Canada and bring the flow of computer traffic down to a halt in Washington, DC. This was due to the fact that once the virus had infected the computer, the flood of emails received were enough to shut the computer down. 2,000,000 PC’s were affected by the virus, causing millions of pounds worth of damage.
I Love You (2000)
The ‘cute’ message that caused almost £10,000,000,000 in damages – this virus was sent in the form of an innocent, harmless e-mail message that simply said ‘I Love You’. However, once opened, the email contained a malicious program designed to steal passwords, and it would spread by hacking into the user’s contact list and sending the email on to their first fifty contacts. 500,000 PC computers were affected by the ‘I Love You’ virus.
A nasty virus that caused millions of pounds of damage, Slammer – also known as Sapphire – caused a total shut down of service on some internet hosts, and managed to dramatically slow down general internet traffic. It worked by releasing a deluge of network packets, and would double in size every 8.5 seconds. It randomly selected its victims IP addresses, and affected an emergency call centre’s system, a nuclear plant, and the Bank of America’s ATM’s. 200,000 PC computers in total were infected by the Slammer virus.
Remember – if you receive a suspicious email, or an email you weren’t expecting that doesn’t look important, it might be best to delete it. It’s also always a good idea to keep your email security settings as high as possible.