Computer viruses have been around for a long, long time — pretty much as long as personal computing and mainstream software development — and they’ve been making international news since the Internet graduated from a researcher’s toy to a tool for consumers.
If you’ve ever wondered what the first viruses were like and just how bad or dangerous they were, this infographic should be an interesting read for you. And the Space Invaders graphics will be easy on your nerdy eyes, too.
While the first virus in this brief history coincided with the birth of the 3.5-inch floppy disk, a lot of the malware we see these days relies on social media or mobile apps for transmission, adequate proof (as if any was needed) that with any innovation comes an opportunity for exploitation.
The twist these days is that more viruses are specifically targeted to steal personal data and make money for their creators, which was not necessarily a goal for many of the virus-writing hackers of the late 1980s and early 1990s. In fact, according to this data, the first money-making computer virus didn’t hit PCs until 2003.