Over the years we have all become more and more dependent on the Internet and although this has resulted in advances in technology, at the same time it has left us vulnerable to hackers.  Let’s take a look at some of the worst viruses that have infected the Internet and just how disastrous they were.

Hackers

I Love You – 2000

Back in the year 2000, the I Love You virus targeted its victims through email. An email was sent with an accompanying attachment, which when opened unleashed a malicious program that overwrote users’ image files. The purpose of the virus was to steal Internet access passwords and quickly spread because it would email itself to the first fifty contacts in every Windows address book that it was able to get into.

It was able to infect around 500,000 PCs and cause approximately $15,000,000,000 in damage. Some speculated that it originated from Onel de Guzman of the Philippines but the authorities said there wasn’t sufficient evidence and charges were dropped.

Onel de Guzman

Onel de Guzman was suspected to be behind the I Love You virus but there was never enough evidence to convict him.

Code Red – 2001

Code Red was a worm that exploited an operating system vulnerability in PCs running Windows 2000 and Windows NT. It worked by randomly selecting IP addresses and then scanning them for the Microsoft system before infecting the relevant PCs. It was able to deface and take down websites, which famously included the whitehouse.gov website. This prompted other government agencies to take down their public websites as a protection.

It successfully infected 1,000,000 PCs and caused damage that amounted to $2,600,000,000.

MyDoom – 2004

Another virus that was able to spread itself through email was MyDoom, which cleverly disguised itself as a bounced message. Once the email was opened by the unsuspecting user, the malicious code was downloaded and then stole information from the Outlook address book. In managed to cause $38,000,000,000 of damage and affect 2,000,000 machines.

Storm Worm – 2006

This Trojan horse program left PCs vulnerable to remote control by the hacker behind the virus. Users were tricked into downloading the malicious program due to fake links to news stories or videos. In some cases the hackers used Storm Worm to create botnets in order to send spam emails across the Internet.

Slammer – 2003

Another Internet worm that was also known as Sapphire, Slammer infected around 200,000 PCs and caused $1,200,000,000 of damage. It released a huge amount of network packets, bringing many servers to a halt. It was able to infect so many because it randomly selected IP addresses in order to find vulnerable victims. It’s victims included the 911 emergency response system in Washington and Continental Airlines.

continental airlines plane

Continental Airlines was just one of Slammer’s victims.

Have you ever been effected by the above viruses? In your opinion what’s the worst virus ever? Tell us in the comments below.