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18 May 2017

WannaCry, not the first and certainly not the last

Before WannaCry, these made the netizens cry

WannaCry is currently raising eyebrows, as governments are slowly waking up to the threat that can be posed by pestilent bits of software and to the extent of their capability to wreak havoc.

However, truth be told, malwares are not a new threat. In the chequered history of technology, there have been several instances when malwares have caused serious damage.

Here's all about it.

In context

Before WannaCry, these made the netizens cry
The advent of the Morris worm way back in 1988

Morris worm

The advent of the Morris worm way back in 1988

In 1988, Robert Morris, a student wrote a small code, which logged into every server it came across. The code was heavily bugged and servers ended up running multiple copies of it.

The Internet came to a standstill, as the bug slowly started using up the processing power of the servers.

Mr. Morris was fined $10,050 and currently, he is an MIT computer scientist.



In May 2000, Internet users started finding ILOVEU written in the subject line of an incoming mail; as soon as they opened it, a program got triggered, sending the copy of the same message to all addresses in the victim's mail and the circle went on and on.

Two creators went unpunished, as their country Philippines didn't have a cyber law at that time.

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Code Red, like WannaCry attacked servers without a bug patch

Code Red virus

Code Red, like WannaCry attacked servers without a bug patch

A worm that was targeting web servers running Microsoft IIS software, was discovered in July 2001 after it managed to turn websites of several organizations offline.

Researchers dubbed it 'Code Red' based on the carbonated beverage popular among them. Although, the creator of this malware was not discovered; the message displayed on the servers it compromised, suggested that it had originated from China.


SQL Slammer, updating the patch would have averted the attack

This tiny 376-byte program, not only sent itself to random net addresses but also started multiplying by exploiting an unprotected vulnerability of Microsoft's SQL server.

The Internet traffic struggled, as it spread like an epidemic across the Internet, seeking new hosts to infect.

Like WannaCry, a patch too was made available more than six months prior to the attack but people didn't apply it.

Conficker worm is still around


Conficker worm is still around

Microsoft ended up offering $250,000 to anyone, who had information about the creator of a worm that managed to infect more than 15 million servers running Microsoft software.

Conficker spread in all the pressure points, such as hospitals, government systems, and military.

The loophole was plugged by Microsoft within a month; however, data traffic caused by Conficker infected machines still emerges now and then.


Prevention was always better than cure

While it's true that we are in the crux of technology and it has made our life easy, one should remember that technology is like a double-edged sword that cuts both ways.

The sensible thing to do is, to be prepared and take cautionary measures beforehand than to wait for an attack to happen to jolt us into urgency.

Moreover, don't cancel that update.

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