Computer Viruses and Antivirus Protection Progress

Computer Viruses and Antivirus Protection ProgressComputer viruses and antivirus protection have a long history that actually dates back to 1945 when a bug trapped between relays in a Naval computer was discovered to be the cause of the computer's problems. The terms "bug", to refer to problems with electrical devices and "debugging" to describe efforts to fix computer problems was created during this time and continue to be used today.

A computer "worm" designed to search for systems that are not functioning was developed by Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. It was designed to create more efficient computer processing and use, and became the grandfather of the current generation of harmful computer viruses that are designed to alter or erase information on PCs, networks, and servers.

One of the most famous instances of computer hacking occurred in 1983, when a group of young computer hackers broke into United States government computer systems with an Apple computer and modem. That same year, a University of Southern California PhD candidate named a computer program that affects other programs by changing itself or the host program in some way as a "computer virus."

1986 marks the beginning of modern day computer viruses. Programmers in Pakistan released the first every personal computer virus, titled "The Brain," which is quickly followed by a worm designed by a 23-year-old programmer that invaded ARPANET (a division of the US Department of Defense) computers disabling 6000 of their computers in 1988. In 1991, a programmer released PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) a free data encryption tool.

Since that time, the most well known of computer virus include: "Melissa", which automatically and quickly sent replicas of itself to email addresses contained in Microsoft Outlook; "I Love You" which sent copies of passwords and usernames stored on personal computers back to the Philippine designer of this program; and the "Anna Kournikova" virus; which was especially alarming to computer users and programmers alike as it was the beginning of the use of "toolkit" software, that assist just about anyone in creating a computer virus.

The year 2001 was a successful one for worms and viruses with the introduction of: "The Code Red worm" - affecting systems using Microsoft Windows NT and Windows 2000 server software; the "Nimda" virus, and The "Klez" worm which was designed to also disable many of the common antivirus software protection on the market at that time.

In 2002 "root" servers, which are used to provide Internet communication, were affected by a virus causing the need for more protection of the Internet infrastructure. In 2003, The "Slammer" worm caused damages to businesses world wide including cash machines and airports. The "MyDoom" worm was introduced in 2004, a harmful virus that uses tricks to get people to open email attachments that contain the virus.

The very first antivirus software products are claimed by several different sources. One claim to be the first ever antivirus software program was made by European Bernt Fix in 1987. In 1988, the antivirus software Dr. Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit was released by Alan Solomon, of Great Britain. In the early 1990's there were approximately 19 antivirus software programs including the well-known Symantec's Norton Antivirus software, ViruScan by McAfee; and IBM's Antivirus. In 1994, Symantec acquired many of the smaller antivirus software protection companies such as Central Point, Peter Norton Computing, and Fifth Generation Systems, making it one of the largest antivirus software services available.

The mid 1990's brought about many advancements and changes in the development of antivirus software protection. Many divisions within major companies left to form their own software companies. Among those is the highly recognized company currently known as Kaspersky Labs. Other advancements during this time include the development of the Antiviral Toolkit Pro (AVP) antivirus scanner system. Additional advancements in software development include international distribution and product support. Also developed in the late 1990's was the licensing agreement of AVP technologies and F Secure Antivirus.

Currently there are several major providers of antivirus software protection including: ALWIL Software avast! ; AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic; AVG Professional; eTrust EZ Armor Suite; F-Secure Anti-Virus; Kaspersky Anti-Virus; McAfee VirusScan; Norton AntiVirus; Panda Antivirus; Trend PC-cillin

Each of these software services offer a variety of customization options, scanning, controls, blocking, parental controls, and advanced technology designed and developed from all that was learned over the course of antivirus software development by some of the top programmers and software developers available. Software developers have learned much through studying viruses, just as doctors learn about diseases. By searching closely through the programming "language", many threats show a distinct pattern of software usage as well as some very predictable consequences. The continued and expanded research of viruses and other threats such as spyware and malware is required to maintain the efficiency of any antivirus software that you are currently using for your personal computer.

Since that time, computer threats have evolved and become harder to detect. Each decade has brought with it innovations in viruses and other computer threats. The latest include Trojan horses, worms, image and attachment virus and threats, as well as spyware, adware, and malware, all used to access a personal computer and disable systems or obtain information about the user.

As viruses and other threats become more harmful, harder to detect, and easier to spread a good antivirus software download is necessary on every computer in your home or business. Consumers should carefully research the products available and choose the combination of services and features that will be most beneficial to them and their family. Not all computer users need parental controls, but for those that do, it is a key feature in making an antivirus software purchase.

Computer programmers are among some of the most creative and innovative minds in the world. As such, we may never find a "cure" for computer viruses, but maybe we can find just the right "medicine" to keep our personal computers and information safe.