Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Early Days On The Antivirus Front: A Personal Perspective

I first thought computer viruses were a pretty cool concept. They had great names like the Brain virus, the Jerusalem virus, the Friday The 13th virus, the Typo/Fumble virus, and the dBase virus, and they did really cool things such as self-replicate, cause typos, or encrypt database files -- all without the permission of the computer user.

True, some viruses did unpleasant things, such as delete executables when run on a certain date, but it was almost cute. Then viruses were discovered that did truly awful things such as erase your hard disk and all the contents thereon. Suddenly, they weren't so cute anymore.

It was the mid-1980s, and the computer revolution hadn't really started yet. A simple MS-DOS computer with monochrome monitor cost upward of $3,000, hard disks were measured in tens of megabytes, and hefty systems sometimes had as much as 256K of memory, which was fine for that new-fangled Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet program.

20 Years Of PC Viruses


 A Brief History Of Viral Time

 The 10 Most Destructive Viruses

 Early Days On The Antivirus Front

      •  In The Beginning

      •  CARO And Beyond

 What To Do In A Malware Attack

 Virus Image Gallery

 Virus Timeline

The hot operating system was destined to be OS/2, which was authored by IBM and therefore could not fail. The hot chip was the 386. It had something really innovative called Protected Mode.

The time was ripe for something as unique and cool as computer viruses. And they, of course, gave birth to the computer antivirus (AV) industry. I was a member right at the beginning with my Flu_Shot antiviral program.

  • 1