It’s easy to get caught up in the fear and fervor surrounding malware, especially when they have names like WannaCry, Smoke Loader and Gh0st. These days, reports strive to make the most recently discovered programs seem as terrifying as possible — but are they? Are the headline-grabbing viruses truly the most threatening, or are there worse malware lurking in the shadows?
In truth, the public rarely learns about the malware most likely to do them harm. Here are stories of the most dangerous malware in history — and why you haven’t heard anything about them until now.
Let have a look at different types of malware that destroyed devices and are most dangerous in the history
Data Wiping Malware: Chernobyl
Also called the CIH virus, the Chernobyl virus detonated (as it were) on the 1998 anniversary of the famous Russian nuclear plant explosion. Indeed, the virus was aptly branded, for its effects were undeniably disastrous. CIH wiped data from a device’s hard drive and overwrote the device’s BIOS chip. In the ‘90s, BIOS chips were firmware necessary to turn a computer on or off, and they were not removable or replaceable; thus, by altering the BIOS, the Chernobyl virus effectively rendered a computer useless.
Chernobyl spread around the world, causing millions of dollars in damages to individuals and businesses alike. Yet, the virus impressed tech firms so much that when the creator of the virus was discovered, he was offered an enviable job at a software company. Because he was never in trouble for his work, Chernobyl’s story didn’t last long in the papers. Thankfully, modifications to computer firmware as well as basic antivirus protection render Chernobyl powerless today.
Trojan Virus: Zeus
Zeus began as a Trojan built to infect Windows devices and retrieve sensitive information — but it has evolved so far beyond that. Today, Zeus is a family of malware with dozens of variations designed to wreak all sorts of havoc on all sorts of devices. Some of the most notable variants include:
- Zeus Gameover. A peer-to-peer botnet that facilitates the spread of pilfered financial information, Zeus Gameover is a powerful and dangerous malware that remains active today.
- SpyEye. A keylogger that tracks typing on financial institution websites, SpyEye steals bank credentials, social security numbers and other information useful in emptying users’ bank accounts.
- Ice IX. Unlike other Zeus variants, Ice IX steals any type of valuable information, not just financial information. Many consider Ice IX to be an improved version of the original Zeus Trojan.
- Citadel. An advanced, opensource toolkit, Citadel is used to trick users into revealing confidential information, unlike other Zeus variants which obtain data in other ways.
- Bugat. Once on a device, Bugat collects information about online banking through a user’s browsing history.
Fastest Spreading Malware: MyDoom
In 2004, a seemingly innocuous email spread like California wildfire across the internet. Though the message it contained was brief — “andy; I’m just doing my job, nothing personal, sorry,” — its impact was grand: In a matter of hours, MyDoom was responsible for one out of every 10 emails, slowed overall internet performance by 10 percent and webpage load times by 50 percent and became the fastest-spreading virus in history. MyDoom didn’t last in the collective memory because its time in the spotlight was so brief, only a few days, but its creator was never identified.
Largest Botnet: ZeroAccess
ZeroAccess wasn’t the first botnet in history, but it was among the largest. A botnet is a network of computers infected with malware and capable of working together to achieve a cybercriminal’s goals. Often, botnets are used to launch attacks against well-defended computer networks. ZeroAccess compiled more than 1.9 million devices, which accomplished a variety of malevolent ends, from SPAM email campaigns to HTLM attacks. Vestiges of ZeroAccess still remain, though under different names, so the legacy of this malware continues.
Most Powerful Ransomware: Locky
Ransomware isn’t as new as the media would have you believe; many of the first ransomware attacks occurred as early as the late ‘00s. Still, the most powerful ransomware emerged in the middle of the twenty-teens, which is true of one of the biggest ransomware threats, Locky.
Locky ransomware has only attacked about a half-million users, making it a relatively small malware compared to others on this list. However, Locky’s revolutionary tactics influenced other ransomware writers — including WannaCry — making it one of the most dangerous viruses on the web.
Did we miss any? Do comment below and let us know different types of malware that according to you were deadliest of all!