It's always seemed like malware and other forms of dangerous attacks have been out there waiting to bring our computer systems to their knees. In some ways, an attack of some kind has always been out there waiting. But do you know the full history of where this malicious form of attack came from?
Being a security company, we are aware of the attacks that are out there. There is something always lurking, a new battle to fight, and a new virus coming stronger and more dangerous than the one before. But where did this all begin? How long has this malicious attitude been around? Possibly a lot longer than you would believe. Malware is malicious software that is designed to disrupt computer operation, takes sensitive information, and can gain access to private computer systems. It is the term used for viruses, worms, spyware, ransomware, and beyond. At first, it wasn't necessarily created to be malicious. It was just supposed to be entertaining and even productive. But today this term is only referred to in a very negative light and one that we all dread seeing on our computers.
There has always been a malicious presence since the dawning of the computer age. The first computer virus dates back to the late 40s when the theory that a computer program could reproduce itself was introduced. Fred Cohen, the father of the computer virus coined the term "virus" in his 1986 thesis. He defined a virus as "a program that can infect other programs by modifying them to include a, possibly evolved, version of itself" Once personal computers became common, that is when the world of malware truly exploded. Between the 1980s and the 2000s, the growth and development of viruses truly took hold. In each decade since there has been a substantial amount of well-known attacks.
One of the very first viruses was created by a 15-year-old in 1982, called Elk Cloner. It was one of the first widespread self-replicating viruses to affect the personal computer. In its earliest stages, malware was spread by the use of floppy discs. But once the internet came to be, that too was taken over by hackers. 1999 brought the first mass emailed virus that utilized Outlook address books from infected computers. It mailed itself to 50 people at a time. That was the infamous Melissa virus.
Once we passed the Y2K fear and entered into the early 2000s to 2010, the rise of malware grew significantly both in number and how fast infections spread. In 2004 the very first virus to infect a mobile phone was released. Since 2010 we have gone from speed and the amount of malware to the growth in its intelligence and it's sophistication. Every day new groups are evolving to outsmart even the toughest anti-malware systems out there. The groups and companies they are attacking are more influential, powerful, and wealthier than ever before. With attacks on military systems, factories, and even deeper classified information, the attacks are becoming very daunting.
This new age has also lead to the birth of ransomware and many other illegal actions, the goal of gaining money through malware became a reality. In 2017, we saw the release of the Wannacry Ransomware. This virus locked people out of their data and demanded a ransom for it to be restored, or it would be lost forever. This attack affected 150 countries and hit banks, hospitals, warehouses, and many other companies. Just last year as cryptocurrency has begun to grow, Thanto's became the first ransomware to receive payment in bitcoin.
As of today, malware has infected at least 1/3 of the world's computers. Cybercrime is looking to hit over six trillion dollars in losses by 2021. Cybercrime has the fastest growing crime rate in the United States, and it continues to grow. The rise of malware happened because of the rise of the PC, but now anything electronic is at risk for attack. This includes fit bits, smart light bulbs, or even airlines. Everything from ATMs to e-cigarettes has already been attacked. With more computers, more connectivity, and more access - the rise of malware is eminent. It can be an overwhelming thought, especially when it has such humble beginnings.
But from its humble beginnings, it did become a subject of common knowledge, and one that is battled and worked against every day. Netcertpro is here to help you face any dangers coming your way and will be there if they ever show up at your door.
Jeremy Sonntag &