Monday, 20 Apr, 2015 Offbeat
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Strange Illustrations of the Most Dangerous Computer Viruses

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There viruses that harm your computer and you don't even notice it. Only after a while your computer starts doing some weird things, like erasing some important files, and only then you realize that it's infected.

Another category of vires lets you instantly know that your computer is infected. In most cases a strange image appears on your screen or an audio file starts playing all by itself.

Some of the most harmful viruses in history can be found in the Computer Virus Catalog. To note that the catalog represents an art project created by curator Bas van de Poel, a Dutch designer also known for working on different advertising campaigns for Converse, Lego and other well-known companies.

The designer notes that the idea of such an art project arose due to his huge interest in computer viruses. He says that for a very long time he has been interested in "the dark side of computing". He started thinking about doing something interesting after discovering that the infamous Melissa virus was named after an exotic dancer, whom the virus author adored.

After some time Van de Poel decided to contact favorite artists, and asked them to create special images for him. He selected computer viruses according to the stories behind them and in certain cases based on the visual effects that some of the viruses produced.

The text under each image informs about the way the virus harms a computer.

The cookie monster

This is probably the first computer virus ever created. It appeared in 1960s and was developed by MIT students, who decided to annoy fellow classmates. The computer virus meant to freeze everything on a machine, and to inform the user that their computer is infected the virus displayed the the word "cookie" on the screen. In order to cure the computer the user just had to type the word "cookie."

The Melissa virus

The name comes from the favorite exotic dancer of the virus' creator. The worm infects Word documents and can infect other computers by spreading through email, being shown as a simple attachment. In case the user opens the attachment with the virus, it duplicates and then transmits itself to users that are in the email address book of the infected user.

The Selectronic virus

This virus infects only .COM files. Each ear on Friday the 13th, computer that were infected with the virus starts showing the text that reads "Countdown to extinction …," plays a melody, and shows an animation of the Grim Reaper that goes across the display.

The Nople virus

This worm spreads through local and shared networks. As soon as it is activated, the virus displays an animation and the text that reads "¡Es hora de formatear tu disco!" which means "It is the hour to format your disc!"

The Madman virus

This virus infects just the .EXE files. When the user hits Ctrl-Alt-Del, the infected computer does not restart. Instead an image of an angry man appears on the screen. When the user hits another key, they would see the image that reads: "Nothing can save you here, friend — you’re in my world now!"

The Lichen virus

This is the Selectronic and the Madman virus put together as it infects both .COM and .EXE files. But it does not show itself instantly. The virus lies on the infected computer for a month, and afterwards the keyboard cannot be used for more than 1 minute. In addition to that the user sees a creepy fungus-looking animation on the monitor.

The LSD virus

The name of this virus comes from the strange-looking visual effects that are displayed on the infected computer. The visual effects appear as soon as all the files in the current directory have been erased.

The Skulls virus

This virus was created to infect Nokia phones that are powered by Symbian. The Skull replaces all the app icons with images of skulls. In addition, the virus attempts to drain your phone's battery.

The Melting Worm virus

This one affects .EXE files and can spread through the user's Outlook address book. The virus presents itself as a cool screensaver, which, however, doesn't do anything good – it just melts your screen!

The Ika-Tako virus

The virus looks like an ordinary music file. However, when the user attempts to open the file, the virus instantly replaces all of the stuff with images of squids.

The Happy99 virus

The virus can spread as an email attachment. When the user opens the attachment the virus displays an animation of fireworks along with the text reading "Happy new year!" In addition, the virus messes with several system files.

The Crash virus

This one simply runs an endless and quite annoying gibberish over and over again.

The ILOVEYOU virus

The name is deceiving – under the nice name hides an awful monster. In fact the virus managed to infect over 50 million computers in a few days, and the total damage it brought is estimated at $10 billion dollars. Hidden under a love letter, the virus erases all your local files as soon as you open it.

The Code Red virus

Initially the virus had no name, but after its discovery specialist named it this way. The name comes from the drink Code Red Mountain Dew. After infecting a computer, the virus cased the machine to activate a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on the official website of the White House.

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