February 18, 2006 Mac users ‘too smug’ over security
The first known computer virus, the Elk Cloner, is 25 years old. Since its appearance we have seen hundreds of thousands of malicious programs and their impact on our computer use has been immense. Millions of people have lost work, had their private information stolen or simply had to waste precious hours cleaning up their computers after infection.
A small number of companies have grown rich on the sales of anti-virus software, while organised crime is believed to commission many of today’s viruses as a money-making venture, selling services to spammers or using them to blackmail websites.
That first virus was specific to the Apple II computer and spread by inserting itself into the operating system files that were installed on every boot floppy, since this was in the days before hard drives in personal computers and few of us had network connections.