Computer viruses have evolved much from the early days of PCs, when teenage computer ninjas created malware just for fun. These days, the hackers are often part of an underground gang or spies working directly for an intelligence agency or a foreign government. Luckily, along with the development of the viruses, an entire antivirus industry emerged as well as the need for hard drive recovery software.  When it comes to dealing with computer viruses your best defense if to use virus protection software and if that options fails you next option is to recover your files with hard drive recovery software.  Data Rescue PC3 offers a free trial to try before you buy.

Here’s a look at a few most powerful viruses in history.

Stuxnet

This computer worm has been allegedly developed by Israel and the United States to attack Iran’s nuclear plants. This particular malware is considered to be the first online warfare. Specifically, this virus was engineered to burrow into the internal network of the nuclear facility and to destroy its machinery (namely centrifuges used to enrich uranium). Different versions of Stuxnet targeted five Iranian plants. Experts concluded that this sophisticated attack could only have been implemented with governmental support.

I Love You

This fast and powerful virus made its debut in 2000. It is also known as ‘Love Letter’. Millions of people around the globe made a mistake of opening an email attachment with an innocent label ‘I Love You’. When opened, this malware wiped out images, music and other files costing targeted companies upward of 5 billion dollars. Furthermore, using the Windows Outlook address books as a springboard, the malware automatically emailed itself to the first 50 contacts like an old-fashioned chain letter. ‘Love Letter’ turn pandemic in mere hours, probably because it played on the eternal desire to be loved :).

Jerusalem

Jerusalem is a DOS malware first detected in 1987. It is considered the first computer virus used with destructive intent. This is the forefather of all viruses with destructive capabilities. Also known as BlackBox, Jerusalem contains one destructive payload programmed to go off on Friday the 13th, all years except 1987.

The Code Red

The Code Red (known by some as The Red Raider) targeted computers running Microsoft’s IIS web server (July 13, 2001). It compromised the WhiteHouse.gov by exploiting a vulnerability in the Microsoft Internet Information Server. Compared to modern viruses, The Code Red is an innocent, gentle program. However, it was capable of bringing down the country’s safest website and forcing other government institutions to temporarily close their own public sites, too.

Mydoom

Mydoom or Shimgapi was first observed in 2004. It became the fastest-spreading malware in history overshadowing records set by ‘Love Letter’ and the Sobig Worm. Although the actual developer of Mydoom is unknown, several security agencies suggested that the worm was created by a hacker from Russia. This malware was primarily transmitted via email. Mydoom quickly infected nearly one million computers and started off a large-scale distributed denial of service attack overwhelming each target by flooding it with data from numerous systems. Similarly to the ‘I Love You’ virus, it crawled into the victim’s Outlook address book to find new targets and spread itself in a split second.

Developed by cybercriminals, amateur hackers and government institutions, these viruses have seriously jeopardized millions of computers worldwide.

Author Byline:  This article is written by Sergey Gor, a computer security specialist and blogger. Visit his website MalwareList.Net to find more information on this topic.