The Evolution Of Computer Viruses History (P4)

In the early days of computers, there were relatively few PCs likely to contain “sensitive” information, such as credit card numbers or other financial data, and these were generally limited to large companies that had already incorporated computers into working processes.

In any event, information stored in computers was not likely to be compromised, unless the computer was connected to a network through which the information could be transmitted. Of course, there were exceptions to this and there were cases in which hackers perpetrated frauds using data stored in IT systems. However, this was achieved through typical hacking activities, with no viruses involved.

The advent of the Internet however caused virus creators to change their objectives, and, from that moment on, they tried to infect as many computers as possible in the shortest time. Also, the introduction of Internet services -like e-banking or online shopping- brought in another change. Some virus creators started writing malicious codes not to infect computers, but, to steal confidential data associated to those services.  Evidently, to achieve this, they needed viruses that could infect many computers silently.

Their malicious labor was finally rewarded with the appearance, in 1986, of a new breed of malicious code generically called “Trojan Horse”, or simply “Trojan”. This first Trojan was called PC-Write and tried to pass itself off as the shareware version of a text processor. When run, the Trojan displayed a functional text processor on screen. The problem was that, while the user wrote, PC-Write deleted and corrupted files on the computers’ hard disk.

After PC-Write, this type of malicious code evolved very quickly to reach the stage of present-day Trojans. Today, many of the people who design Trojans to steal data cannot be considered virus writers but simply thieves who, instead of using blowtorches or dynamite have turned to viruses to commit their crimes. Ldpinch.W or the Bancos or Tolger families of Trojans are examples of this.
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