Creeper: The Worlds First Computer Virus – Exabeam

what was the first computer virus?

The idea of ​​a computer virus preceded computer networks. German mathematician and father of game theory John von Neumann first theorized the concept in the late 1940s. He envisioned a computer virus as an automatically self-replicating entity. but it was another 30 years before someone created one.

jeepers vines: it’s a worm!

an experimental computer network, arpanet, was created in 1969 and was the forerunner of the internet. it was designed to send computer-to-computer communications over long distances, without the need for a dedicated telephone connection between each computer. achieving this required a method of splitting and forwarding data now known as packet switching. its first users were mostly computer scientists. imagine his surprise when one day in 1971, computer screens with wired teletypes flashed the phrase, “I’m the creeper, catch me if you can!”

Reading: Who created the creeper virus

Although they did not know it at the time, they were the first victims of computer viruses. but what did the mysterious message mean and who sent it?

It turns out that the first computer virus was not encoded by a hacker, and it was not sent with malicious intent. bold, beranek, and newman* (now raytheon bbn technologies) pioneered packet-switched networks such as the arpanet and the internet. one of its researchers, bob thomas, had created creeper as an experimental computer program.

creeper was a worm, a type of computer virus that replicates and spreads to other systems. in this case, their targets were digital equipment corporation (dec) computers that were connected to the arpanet.

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but it wasn’t malware like we associate with today’s computer viruses; displaying his enigmatic message was all the creeper did. It didn’t encrypt files, it didn’t demand a ransom, it didn’t destroy data, it didn’t steal social security numbers, it didn’t shut down centrifuges. he just showed his mocking defiance.

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Its creator simply wanted to create an experimental self-duplication program to illustrate that it was possible. Doing it primarily out of scientific curiosity, he too had fun naming it: Creeper was a mysterious and ghoulish green bank robber in the popular ’70s cartoon show, “Scooby-Doo.”

So, creeper was the first computer virus, but it certainly wasn’t the last, as we all know. Following creeper, which was isolated within the researchers’ purview, elk cloner was the first personal computer virus to be detected in the wild. Written in 1982 by a 15-year-old high school student named Richard Skrenta, it was a boot sector virus that infected Apple II computers. spread via a cutting-edge removable storage technology, the floppy disk, to become the first major computer virus outbreak. it was not deliberately harmful, but it did corrupt some disks and cause annoyance by displaying the following poem on infected computers every 50 boots:

moose cloner:

the program with personality

will be placed on all your disks

will infiltrate your files

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yes, it’s a cloner!

it will stick to you like glue

will also modify ram

send the cloner!

Today, we continue to deal with the annoying and often very destructive effects of increasingly powerful computer viruses.

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Do you consider yourself a cybersecurity history buff? share your comments with us on twitter.

* internet trivia: On April 24, 1985, bbn.com became the second registered domain name.

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