People spend a good deal of their lives online, both in their personal as well as their professional lives. But the online world is full of cyber threats that can irreparably harm unprotected users. Not only financially, but personally.
Types of cyber threats
Most computer threats take the form of malware, spyware, adware, phishing, viruses, Trojan horses, worms, rootkits, ransomware and browser hijackers. With these weapons, hackers can get at your passwords and credit card information, lock your computer and demand a ransom to get it back, delete your personal data, slow down your PC and more.
History of cyber threats
Cyber threats have been around as long as computers have existed. And for just as long, people have been protecting their computers.
- 1986 – The first PC virus “Brain” is created, attacking IBM PCs by replacing the boot sector of a floppy disk with a copy of the virus.
- 1988 – Avast releases its first antivirus – one of the first ever. Today, Avast protects more than 400 million people around the world.
- 1998 – “Chernobyl”, the first virus that paralyzes computer hardware, attacks BIOS (needed to boot up a PC).
- 2003 – “Cabir”, the first mobile phone virus, is designed to infect mobile phones running the Symbian OS and spread to other phones using Bluetooth.
- 2010 – “Stuxnet”, the most sophisticated virus of all and the first virus able to manipulate real-world equipment, targets programmable assembly line machinery, amusement rides and centrifuges for separating nuclear material.
Here are some examples
of historical viruses
The Casino virus copies the File Allocation Tables (FATs) to random-access memory (RAM), deletes the FAT from the hard disk, and forces the user to play roulette to save their files. Regardless of whether the user wins or loses, the computer shuts down and the user has to reinstall the DOS.
Walker is a benign memory resident virus that infects COM and EXE files when they’re executed. The Walker virus checks keystrokes, and sometimes displays a moving man from the video game Bad Street Brawler. In some cases, the virus removes itself from infected files.
Kuku overwrites and infects files, disabling the keyboard and filling the screen with colourful titles that say “Kuku!” Each time an infected file is executed, the virus infects an uninfected COM file in the current directory.
LSD is a dangerous, non-memory resident parasitic virus that overwrites all current directory files and manifests itself with a graphic effect.
Protect yourself against cyber threats
There is no better way to recognize, remove and prevent online threats than to use an antivirus and anti-malware tool. And the best antivirus and anti-malware tool available is Avast.