Moths to Bugs, Bugs to Viruses, What Next? Computer Viruses and Anti Virus Protection

A Historic Timeline of Computer Viruses

1945 A moth trapped between relays in a Naval computer was discovered to be the cause of the computer’s problems. The naval commander then coined the terms “bug”, to refer to problems with electrical devices and “debugging” to describe efforts to fix computer problems.

1949 A Hungarian scientist developed the theory of self-replicating programs.

1950-1970 A variety of electrical and computer related complications lead to the development of current viruses, including the unlawful tapping of telephone “blue oxes” to intercept calls and telephone numbers.

Also during this time a computer “worm” was designed by Xerox Palo Alto Research Center to search for systems that are not functioning. Designed to create more efficient computer processing and use, the “worm” became the ancestor to the current generation of destructive computer viruses.

1983 One of the most famous instances of computer hacking, young computer hackers broke into United States government computer systems with an Apple computer and modem.

That same year, a University of Southern California Ph.D candidate named a computer program that affects other programs by changing itself or the host program in some way as a “computer virus.”

1986 The beginning of modern day world wide infections by computer viruses.

Examples include: Programmers in Pakistan releasing the first personal computer virus, titled “The Brain.”

1988 A worm designed by a 23 year old programmer invaded ARPANET (a division of the US Department of Defense) computers disabling 6000 of their computers.

1991 The release of PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) a free data encryption tool.

1991-2001 Many well known viruses were released such as: “Melissa”, which automatically and quickly sent replicas of it to email addresses contained in Microsoft Outlook;”I Love You” which sent copies of passwords and usernames stored on personal computers back to the Philippine designer of this program; The Anna Kournikova” virus; which was especially alarming to computer users and programmers alike as it was the beginning of the use of “toolkit” software that can assist just about anyone in creating a computer virus.

2001 The Code Red worm (affecting systems using Microsoft Windows NT and Windows 2000 server software); the “Nimda” virus, and The “Klez” worm which was designed to also disable many of the common anti virus software protection on the market at that time were released.

2002 “Root” servers, which are used to provide Internet communication, were affected by a virus causing the need for more protection of the Internet infrastructure.

2003 The “Slammer” worm caused damages to businesses world wide.

2004 The “MyDoom” worm was introduced a virus that attempts to trick people to open email attachments that contain the virus by making statements in the message or re: form.

Antivirus Software Development

Many companies and countries claim to have developed and released the very first anti virus software product.

1987 European Bernt Fix claims to have created an anti virus software

1988 The antivirus software Dr. Solomon’s Anti-Virus Toolkit was released by Alan Solomon, of Great Britan.

1990’s By this time there were approximately 19 anti virus software programs including the well-known Symantec’s Norton Anti Virus software, ViruScan by McAfee; and IBM’s Anti Virus.

1994 A Symantec takeover occurred allowing it to acquire many of the smaller anti virus software protection companies making it one of the largest anti virus software services available.

In the 1990’s major corporations were being formed to develop and create anti virus software. During this time the prominent company of Kaspersky Labs was formed as well as the development of the Antiviral Toolkit Pro (AVP) anti-virus scanner system. International distribution and product support became paramount in combating computer viruses with the transmittal of information across the globe as well as the use of the internet. One other prominent anti virus venture during this time was the licensing agreement of AVP technologies and F Secure Anti Virus.

As a result several very well known providers of anti virus software protection were developed and still exist today including: ALWIL Software avast!, AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic, AVG Professional, eTrust EZ Armor Suite, F-Secure Anti-Virus,Kaspersky Anti-Virus, McAfee VirusScan, Norton AntiVirus, Panda Antivirus, and Trend PC-cillin.

With the development, growth and competition that this many prominent antivirus software programs to choose from each of them have tried to develop special functions and features such as customization of scan controls, blocking, parental controls, and advanced technology to make them stand out from the crowd.

In order to learn as much about viruses and to develop the best possible antivirus protection software developers study computer viruses to look for patterns in programming to better able them to detect familiar programming patterns that are used in many computer viruses and threats including spyware. Those antivirus software programs that are the most effective are active in their information gathering efforts and in catching threats before they hit your computer, as well as providing updates for detecting viruses on a regular basis. It is important that the antivirus software program that you choose also includes protection from threats embedded in images and email messages with all the communication we do via the internet and out computer.

Consumers should carefully research the products available and choose the combination of services and features that will be most beneficial to them and their family. Computer programmers are among some of the most creative and innovative minds in the world. As such we may never find a “cure” for computer viruses, but maybe we can find just the right “medicine” in the form of an efficient, cost effective and easy to operate antivirus software system to keep our personal computers and information safe.

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