ILOVEYOU , RED CODE, MELISSA, SASSER, ZEUS
Everyone has ever caught a computer virus, but with installing an antivirus or cleaning some installed files, the problem used to be solved. Few ‘normal and ordinary’ people have suffered catastrophes because of them.
This is so, in part, because computers and mobiles are safer in recent years and because the goals of the great programs done to harm today are computer systems of institutions or companies.
But when a virus attacks, and does well, it can cause real catastrophes at the height of tsunamis, volcanic eruptions or repeated elections. These were the five most dangerous and harmful viruses known.
Romantic as the name of this virus sounds, the truth is that ILOVEYOU claimed more than $ 10 billion in damages in the early 2000s. Its power was such that it is estimated that around 10% of the world’s computers became infected by it at some time.
It was created by two Filipino programmers with the aim of preventing the affected computer from turning on. And all with a simple trap: a supposed love letter that, in truth, was a text file with a malicious code that was automatically forwarded to all the user’s email contacts.
Its two creators never went to jail for it because at that time there was no legislation in this regard in many countries.
This worm attacked computers that worked with Microsoft IIS web servers and were able to overload them without leaving a trace of information on hard drives. Each infected computer made multiple copies of the virus and ended up without resources to perform any other action.
Its effect was devastating and came to attack the White House web servers with a curious message: ‘Hacked by the Chinese’. It is estimated that it caused 2,000 million in damages and that it affected between one and two million servers.
The virus was replicated using the first 50 email contacts of the affected and reached the postal services of companies and the US government.
Its creator was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in jail, although Smith decided that it was better to collaborate with the FBI to capture other hackers and thus get rid of stepping on the prison. In the end, he was only 20 months locked up and had to pay a fine of only $ 5,000, a figure that pales against the 80 million in damages estimated to have caused his virus.
The Sasser virus was discovered in 2004 and was the second creation of Sven Jaschan, already known by the Netsky virus. Compared to his teammates on this list, its operation seems less serious: it simply slowed down the equipment until it was necessary to restart it, something that in itself was not easy also because of it.
And yet, it caused major infrastructure problems in the world, as it used a bug in the Windows permission systems to replicate until the use of the computer was impossible.
It is estimated that there were more than one million affected equipment and that it caused damages worth 18,000 million dollars. But Jaschen was a minor and only received a 21-month sentence.
The almighty god of Olympus lent his name to an infamous Trojan that infected Windows computers with the objective of carrying out various frauds. It was first identified in 2009 and was able to corrupt databases of large multinationals and even banks, from Amazon to Oracle, also through the Bank of America.
In the US alone, it is estimated that it infected a million computers, quite low if you consider how sophisticated the program was. Thanks to him, a circle of around 100 people managed to steal 70 million dollars, but all of them were arrested sooner or later. Its creator never identified, however.