The Evolution Of The Computer Virus

2030 words - 9 pages


The Evolution of the Computer Virus

Introduction
In simple terms a virus can be defined as software, which is unwanted and executes arbitrary code on systems. It acts as a small software program, which has the capability of exploiting other software programs in order to piggyback[1]. The terms viruses and malwares are used interchangeably, however, in technical terms, the viruses are a subset of malware and so are trojans, worms and rootkits.
The name for the “Computer Virus” has actually derived from its biological counterpart because of their proximity in properties. Similar to the functioning of biological viruses, a computer virus must use another program to exploit some other program in order to start functioning. Hence, this principle characteristics trait results in the name “Computer “Virus”.

1. Why is Computer Virus created?
Few researchers believe in constructing viruses for staying up-to date security inaccuracies and for finding vulnerabilities in the antivirus software. This helps them to stay aware and acquainted against the people who write viruses with the main motive of procuring damages.[2]
The creation of virus involves not only the coding phase but also a testing phase, in order to check the capability of virus to spread itself. Then the virus attack phase also needs to be developed. ‘Diverse intentions motivate people to write these viruses. Few of the intentions behind programmers to develop these viruses are’[1] –
• Few programmers find it as a sense of thrill and excitement .These people can be compared to despoilers or hooligans but who are acquaint with computer programming skills.
• Few programmers’ harm un-intentionally, for example- Robert Tappan Morris had never expected that the worm developed by him would multiply at such a fast rate that it might crash the Internet in 1988.
• Monetary gains also compel people to exploit the vulnerabilities of others system for their own financial gain and give-in to the lucrative industry of cyber crime.

2. History of Computer Virus
If we look into the history of Computer Virus, it can be clearly seen how the viruses have grown exponentially with the advent and acceptance of Internet. ‘The root of virus evolution can be drawn back to 1949 when the scientist John von Neumann introduced the concept of self-replicating programs. The design suggested by Von Neumann for the self-producing programs is said to be the first computer virus.
The predecessors of the current form of viruses date back to the 60s.It was then that a game called “Core Wars” was developed which had the capability of regenerating every time it was run. This game could also the exhaust the memory of the computer of other players. Similarly, another application named Reeper was developed by the founders of “Core wars”, which could delete the copies made as a result of running of “Core Wars”. This turned out to be one of the first antivirus applications.
During the same time, another malicious code named...

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