Yesterday’s computer viruses are tame in comparison to today’s and the financial damages, while significant, pale in comparison. For a look back at some of the earliest malware a visit to Internet Archive’s Malware Museum is recommended. For a look at today’s computer viruses recently discovered, take a look at McAfee’s Threat Activity List.
Most internet vulnerabilities are secret and/or unknown. Some vulnerabilities are public knowledge, such as Microsoft’s termination of support for Internet Explorer 8, 9 & 10 on Tuesday, February 9, 2016. Think of the millions who will now be vulnerable to viruses because they or their organizations are too “busy” to update their browsers. Most of the victims are likely to be government organizations who are notoriously slow at upgrading software.
How Computer Users Hurt Themselves
Whether or not you are aware of specific internet/computer viruses there are actions you can be taking to protect yourself. The following infographic by Symantec shows the top 5 most common mistakes that leave people and companies vulnerable.
- assuming patching is good enough
- failing to enforce configuration (see below)
- not enforcing password policies
- not educating users, leaving your network open to human errors
- insecurely storing data
Some of the Worst Internet Virusus of the Early Internet
If you don’t protect your computers from hackers, bad things can happen. The worst internet viruses of all time have cost well over $1 trillion as reported by IndustryTap. You may have heard of the some of the worst early hacks/viruses (see infographic below) and damages:
- Melissa (2000, $1.2 billion),
- ILoveYou (2000, $5 billion),
- Code Red (2000, $2 billion),
- NIMDA 2001, $636 million),
- SQL Slammer aka Saffire (2003, $750 million),
- Sasser (2004, $500 million),
- MYDOOM (2004, $38 billion) and
- Conficker (2008, $9.1 billion).
The following infographic by WhoIsHostingThis? describes each of these internet viruses and the financial damage it did.
Following is a video about Conficker: