and to begin execution from the virus section.
The Chernobyl virus spreads quickly via .exe files. As the notoriety attached to its name would
suggest, the virus is quite destructive, attacking not only files but also a certain chip within infected
Two California teenagers infiltrate and take control of more than 500 military, government, and
private sector computer systems.
The Melissa virus, W97M/Melissa, executes a macro in a document attached to an email, which
forwards the document to 50 people in the user's Outlook address book. The virus also infects
other Word documents and subsequently mails them out as attachments. Melissa spread faster
than any previous virus, infecting an estimated 1 million PCs.
Bubble Boy is the first worm that does not depend on the recipient opening an attachment in
order for infection to occur. As soon as the user opens the email, Bubble Boy sets to work.
Tristate is the first multi-program macro virus; it infects Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files.
The Love Bug, also known as the ILOVEYOU virus, sends itself out via Outlook, much like
Melissa. The virus comes as a VBS attachment and deletes files, including MP3, MP2, and .JPG. It
also sends usernames and passwords to the virus's author.
W97M.Resume.A, a new variation of the Melissa virus, is determined to be in the wild. The
“resume” virus acts much like Melissa, using a Word macro to infect Outlook and spread itself.
The “Stages” virus, disguised as a joke email about the stages of life, spreads across the
Internet. Unlike most previous viruses, Stages is hidden in an attachment with a false “.txt”
extension, making it easier to lure recipients into opening it. Until now, it has generally been safe to
assume that text files are safe.
“Distributed denial-of-service” attacks by hackers knock Yahoo, eBay, Amazon, and other high
profile web sites offline for several hours.
Shortly after the September 11th attacks, the Nimda virus infects hundreds of thousands of
computers in the world. The virus is one of the most sophisticated to date with as many as five
different methods of replicating and infecting systems. The “Anna Kournikova” virus, which mails
itself to persons listed in the victim's Microsoft Outlook address book, worries analysts who believe
the relatively harmless virus was written with a “tool kit” that would allow even the most
inexperienced programmers to create viruses. Worms increase in prevalence with Sircam,
CodeRed, and BadTrans creating the most problems. Sircam spreads personal documents over
the Internet through email. CodeRed attacks vulnerable webpages, and was expected to eventually
reroute its attack to the White House homepage. It infected approximately 359,000 hosts in the first
twelve hours. BadTrans is designed to capture passwords and credit card information.
Author of the Melissa virus, David L. Smith, is sentenced to 20 months in federal prison. The
LFM-926 virus appears in early January, displaying the message “Loading.Flash.Movie” as it
infects Shockwave Flash (.swf) files. Celebrity named viruses continue with the “Shakira,” “Britney
Spears,” and “Jennifer Lopez” viruses emerging. The Klez worm, an example of the increasing
trend of worms that spread through email, overwrites files (its payload fills files with zeroes), creates
hidden copies of the originals, and attempts to disable common anti-virus products. The Bugbear
worm also makes it first appearance in September. It is a complex worm with many methods of
In January the relatively benign “Slammer” (Sapphire) worm becomes the fastest spreading
worm to date, infecting 75,000 computers in approximately ten minutes, doubling its numbers every
8.5 seconds in its first minute of infection. The Sobig worm becomes the one of the first to join the
spam community. Infected computer systems have the potential to become spam relay points and
spamming techniques are used to mass-mail copies of the worm to potential victims.
In January a computer worm, called MyDoom or Novarg, spreads through emails and file-sharing
software faster than any previous virus or worm. MyDoom entices email recipients to open an
attachment that allows hackers to access the hard drive of the infected computer. The intended
goal is a “denial of service attack” on the SCO Group, a company that is suing various groups for
using an open-source version of its Unix programming language. SCO offers a $250,000 reward to
anyone giving information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the people who wrote the worm.
An estimated one million computers running Windows are affected by the fast-spreading Sasser
computer worm in May. Victims include businesses, such as British Airways, banks, and
government offices, including Britain's Coast Guard. The worm does not cause irreparable harm to
computers or data, but it does slow computers and cause some to quit or reboot without
explanation. The Sasser worm is different than other viruses in that users do not have to open a file
attachment to be affected by it. Instead, the worm seeks out computers with a security flaw and
then sabotages them. An 18-year-old German high school student confessed to creating the worm.
He's suspected of releasing another version of the virus.