25 Interesting Facts About Computer Viruses You Really Should Know

Posted by , Updated on November 17, 2022

Computer viruses were more of an urban myth than a real threat a few decades ago, but over the years, the situation has changed drastically. These days, malicious executable software programs are great menaces to anybody and anything from governments and big international corporations to small businesses and individual computer users. Created and programmed by anybody from experienced hackers to keen amateurs and even children, computer viruses are malware programs that – when executed – replicate by inserting copies of themselves into other computer programs, data files, or the boot sector of the hard drive. Viruses often perform some type of harmful activity on infected hosts, such as stealing hard disk space or CPU time, accessing private information, corrupting data, displaying political or humorous messages on the user’s screen, spamming their contacts, logging their keystrokes, or even rendering the computer useless. Needless to say, computer viruses are major annoyances and can lead to some dire consequences. Protect and inform yourself about these malicious bugs with these 25 interesting facts about computer viruses. There’s not a person in this world who is not at risk from a computer virus attack (no matter how powerful your antivirus software maybe). Therefore, the more you know, the more you’ll be able to protect yourself.


The very first computer virus was the Creeper Virus that was detected on ARPANET, the forerunner of the Internet, in the early 1970s. It was an experimental self-replicating program written by Bob Thomas at BBN Technologies in 1971.

computer virusSource and image: en.wikipedia.org

Currently, there are three basic categories of malicious software threats: viruses, worms, and Trojan horses. While the behavior of them differs, they are all built from the same basic instructions and computer logic.

computer virusSource: encyclopedia.com, image: commons.wikimedia.org

The typical malicious software author is male between fourteen and twenty-five years of age. Only a few female virus writers have been known so far.

computer virusSource: encyclopedia.com, image: commons.wikimedia.org

About 70% of virus writers work under a contract for an organized crime syndicate.

computer virusSource: quora.com, image: flickr.com

Melissa virus (March 1999) was so powerful that it forced Microsoft and many other large companies to turn off their e-mail systems until the virus could be removed completely.

MicrosoftSource: www.seobloggerstips.com, image: commons.wikimedia.org

Before computer networks became widespread, most viruses spread on removable media, particularly floppy disks. In the early days of the personal computer, most users regularly exchanged information and programs on floppies.

floppy disksSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: commons.wikimedia.org

According to the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report and Consumer Reports, 40% of US household are affected by computer viruses.

computer virusSource: brandongaille.com, image: commons.wikimedia.org

Amazon.com was the most exploited target for phishing attacks, followed by Apple and eBay.

AmazonSource: visual.ly, image: flickr.com

Internationally, US is at the highest risk of being attacked by computer viruses, followed by Russia.

CapitolSource: visual.ly, image: en.wikipedia.org

Yet, computer virus writing is not considered an illegal act in US. Some other countries are beginning to draft computer crime laws that are far stricter than those in US. In Germany, for instance, mass exchange of computer viruses for any reason is restricted and Finland has recently made writing a computer virus an illegal act.

Backlit keyboardSource: encyclopedia.com, image: de.wikipedia.org

With the constantly growing number of computer viruses and hackers, new types of computer crimes have been recognized. These days, the so called cybercrime encompasses a broad range of activities such as cyber terrorism, cyber extortion and cyber warfare.

computer virusSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: youtube.com

These days, over 6,000 new computer viruses are created and released every month.

computer virusSource: techarena.com, image: flickr.com

The most expensive computer virus of all time was referred to as MyDoom which caused $38 billion in damages. It was fast moving, infecting open networks and every computer with access to it. In 2004, this virus was estimated to impact 25% of all emails.

computer virusSource: brandongaille.com, image: pixabay.com

It is actually very easy to become a member of Anonymous, the most famous international network of hacking activists. Therefore, only a handful of them are elite hackers capable of exploiting security flaws in computer systems and writing viruses.

AnonymousSource: listverse.com, image: commons.wikimedia.org

You cannot get a computer virus by just reading an email. It is only activated when you click a link or open an infected attachment.

ProgrammerSource: visual.ly, image: commons.wikimedia.org

It is estimated that up to 90% of emails contain some malware.

computer virusSource: brandongaille.com, image: commons.wikimedia.org

By 1990, there were roughly 50 known computer viruses. During the late 1990s, the number of viruses skyrocketed to more than 48,000.

computer virusSource: encyclopedia.com, image: youtube.com

Some virus writers might actually be children who create the viruses to simply test their programming skills.

computer virusSource: visual.ly, image: commons.wikimedia.org

About 32% of all computers in the world (that is almost one in every three computers) are infected with some kind of malware.

computer virusSource: cloudtweaks.com, image: en.wikipedia.org

In order to find their vulnerabilities, Facebook pays $500 to anyone who can hack into their system.

FacebookSource: cnn.com, image: pixabay.com

Despite maximum effort of computer security researchers and developers, there is currently no existing antivirus software that would be able to uncover all computer viruses.

computer virusSource and image: en.wikipedia.org

Viruses can be written in numerous computer programming languages including assembly language, scripting languages (such as Visual Basic or Perl), C, C, Java, and macro programming languages (such as Microsoft's VBA).

computer virusSource: encyclopedia.com, image: pixabay.com

The name of the Trojan horse, one of the three basic types of computer viruses, was derived from the Ancient Greek story of the wooden horse that was used to help Greek troops invade the city of Troy by stealth.

Trojan horseSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: commons.wikimedia.org

Created by Filipino programmers Reonel Ramones and Onel de Guzman in 2000, the computer worm known as ILOVEYOU or the Love Letter was one of the most virulent computer viruses ever. The virus was estimated to infect up to 10% of the world’s Internet-connected computers back then.

computer virusSource: www.hongkiat.com, image: youtube.com

Computer viruses currently cause billions of dollars' worth of economic damage each year, due to causing system failures, wasting computer resources, corrupting data, increasing maintenance cost etc.

computer virusSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: pixabay.com

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