The computer virus is 25 years old

The computer virus turns 25 this month, according to The Register.

The virus, “Elk Cloner”, was the first self-replicating piece of malware to spread in the wild. It infected Apple II computers via infected floppy disks. It is thought to have been the work of Rich Skrenta, a 15-year-old high school student from Pittsburgh, who released it in July 1982.

As malware goes, Elk Cloner wasn’t particularly malevolent – its payload was just a couple of verses of poetry. Mostly harmless. But it marked the beginning of a stream of viruses infecting the Apple II, BBC Micro and, later, early PCs… getting ever more virulent and malicious, until today, when we have malware that can crash webservers and steal money from our bank accounts.

If only today’s malware was as innocuous as Elk Cloner…

(Hell, am I really being nostalgic about the malware of yesteryear? Someone kill me, please!)

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