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26

The very first virus might have been nVir of 1987 Although technically not one, nVir worked much like a boot sector virus. Its source code did circulate on BBSes very soon after, leading to short flooding of copies. Still the damage was rather small. Not much later HyperAvenger of 1988 (also called Dukakis-Virus) made its debut. It was based on HyperCard ...


20

The very first step of an attack is to probe the target for platform. Pentesting applications such as metasploit have much more numerous and varied techniques to breach Windows 98 as opposed to the newer Windows versions. By extension, most malware in the wild will also check for platform. In fact, much of that malware has its origins in Metasploit, ...


13

I am one of the two authors of Killer DOS. If you know the final lock screen when your disk was corrupted, we took credit as "The Master" and "The Wizard". I was the DOS Master. We were high school students at the time in a Chicago suburb and wrote the virus in a single weekend. Killer DOS was done as a challenge by a friend at another high school to one-...


12

(The question How could one say that older operating systems are more vulnerable? on Security Stack Exchange (linked by Stephen Kitt in the comments) provides a more in-depth answer, but I will try to provide a high-level answer here as well.) Yes and no, mostly no. Yes in the sense Windows 9x is vulnerable to most of the exploits patched by the various ...


11

The first computer worm is reckoned to be Creeper, which was written by Bob Thomas in 1971 and extended by Ray Tomlinson. It targeted DEC PDP-10 computers running TENEX. It would print "I'm the creeper: catch me if you can" on infected computers. It started off as an experiment to demonstrate the ability to run software remotely, and move software around to ...


11

Mostly no. Pre-XP versions of Windows are certainly vulnerable to targeted attacks, such as you'd see from Metasploit -- if you're the sort of high-value target that attracts such attacks, don't run Windows 98. However, most malware isn't that flexible. Instead, it's programmed to run on popular versions of Windows (typically XP or newer) and nothing else:...


10

What you're looking for is called Killer DOS, which behaved exactly like the Unnamed First Virus described on the Apple II History Viruses page. Killer DOS may have been the second version described on that page. I first saw it in the flesh in 1983 or 1984. There's a reference (although not much of one) to it having been written by a Bill Bach, who may be ...


9

One of the first viruses to gain widespread attention was "The Brain." Two brothers from Lahore, Pakistan had written a heart monitoring program, and realized it was being copied and distributed illegally. So in 1986, they released a version of their software (as well as other pirated bootleg titles) that contained "The Brain," kind of as an experiment. ...


8

One of the earliest -- if not the earliest -- microcomputer virus is Elk Cloner, an Apple II virus created in the early 1980s as a practical joke. An infected version of DOS would install itself into the boot tracks when a non-infected floppy was accessed, and then write a signature in the VTOC to avoid re-infecting disks. After a certain number of ...


7

The first viruses for Mac were targeting Hypercard. The first Hypercard virus appeared in about 1991. Hypercard has a scripting language called HyperTalk, which was powerful enough to perform file-system accesses, thus allowing Hypercard viruses to discover and spread to other stacks (HyperCard "documents").


4

@Mark is on the right track with this when discussing targeted versus non-targeted attacks. To be more specific, this depends on the nature of the threat that you are trying to defend against. If you are up against a hostile government, organized crime syndicate, or similar threat that is specifically targeting you and is actively engaged in gathering ...


3

CP/M viruses could have spread quite successfully I doubt about that: A virus cannot infect every kind of file format but only files that contain code: Executable files Other files that contain any kind of code (e.g. macros in office documents) File formats that can be manipulated in a way that an error happens when opening the file which causes the ...


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