From the moment computers started connecting to each other over the internet, nefarious individuals began writing computer viruses to infect unsuspecting users. The fight against viruses began in earnest shortly after. What occurred was something of an arms race as virus writers created progressively more destructive and elusive viruses while security professionals built firewalls and other security protocols. Today, we will learn about two more legendary computer viruses.
- Zeus Virus
While the previous viruses we have discussed were annoying and even destructive, the Zeus Virus was designed to be criminal. It belonged to the “Trojan horse” family of viruses. Once it infected a Windows computer, it began performing a number of criminal taskssuch as key logging and information grabbing. The Zeus Virus infected computers through drive-by downloads or phishing attacks. It began appearing in 2009 and quickly reached thousands of FTP accounts and computers. It even found its way into the servers of major companies like Amazon, Cisco, and Bank of America. The individuals behind the Zeus Virus ran a sophisticated operation involving smugglers, money mules, and money laundering. All in all, the operation is estimated to have stolen $70 million.
The CryptoLocker virus may personally be our most hated virus. It is also the most modern virus we have discussed. CryptoLocker is a Trojan horse that sneaks its way onto your computer then takes your files hostage. It does so by combing through your hard drive and encrypting everything. Once the files have been encrypted, the only way to open them is by using a numeric key. They only way to obtain this key is by contacting the creators of CryptoLocker and paying a ransom, usually around $400. The creator of the CryptoLocker virus, one Evgeniy Bogachev has been arrested and brought into custody, however, this does not prevent his virus from infecting computers.