20 Years of Malware – Panda Security Ranks the Worst

pandasecurity_logo “Happy anniversary” to Panda Security, which is celebrating 20 years in the rough and tumble world of cyber security – helping us protect our computers against the hoards of cyber criminals intent on doing us harm.

In the course of that time, we have been exposed to some truly dangerous malware threats – from Friday 13, a real nastie that deleted all contents of  a hard drive, to Conficker. And who could forget Conficker?

In celebration of their anniversary, Panda has created the following list of the most dangerous threats – for home users and for businesses – of the last 20 years.

How many do you remember?


Panda’s Hall of Malware Fame, or should that be, “Hall of Shame?”.

Friday 13 or Jerusalem. Created in Israel in 1988 (even before Panda existed) and first reported in Jerusalem, it supposedly commemorated the 40th anniversary of Israel. Whenever the date was Friday 13, it would delete all programs run on an infected computer.

Barrotes. The first well-known Spanish virus appeared in 1993. Once on the computer, it would remain hidden until January 5, when it would activate displaying just a series of bars on the monitor.

Cascade or Falling Letters. Created in Germany in 1997. Whenever it infected a computer, it would make the letters on the screen fall in a cascade.

CIH or Chernobyl. This virus was produced in Taiwan in 1998, and took just one week to propagate and infect thousands of computers.

Melissa. First appeared on March 26 in the USA. This ultra-smart malicious code used social engineering to spread, with a message that read “Here is that document you asked for… don’t show anyone else ;-)”.

ILoveYou or Loveletter. So famous, it hardly needs introduction. This romantic virus emerged from the Philippines in 2000. With the subject ‘ILoveYou’ it infected millions of computers around the world and even organizations like the Pentagon.

Klez. Created in 2001 in Germany, it only infected computers on the 13th of odd months.

Nimda. The name is basically ‘admin’ spelled backwards, as it was able to create administrator privileges on infected computers. It originated in China on September 18, 2001.

SQLSlammer. This was another major headache for companies. It first appeared on January 25, 2003, and affected more than half a million servers in just a few days.

Blaster. This virus, created in the USA on August 11, 2003, contained a message in its code: “I just want to say love you san!!” (We still don’t know who ‘San’ is), and “Billy gates, why do you make this possible? Stop making money and fix your software”.

Sobig. This German virus was famous in the summer of 2003. The F variant was the most damaging, it attacked on August 19 of the same year and generated more than 1 million copies of itself.

Bagle. This emerged on January 18, 2004, and has been one of the most prolific viruses with respect to the number of variants.

Netsky. This worm also came from Germany in 2004 and exploited vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer. Its creator was also responsible for the notorious Sasser virus.

Conficker. Last on the list and most recent, it appeared in November 2008. Oddly enough, if your keyboard is configured in Ukrainian, it won’t affect you…

For up-to-the-minute computer security news go to Panda Security Twitter.

All in all, not a bad list – but present day malware, particularly “rogue software”, makes the malware on this list, with the rare exception, look like the work of raw amateurs.

Let me know – what was the worst experience with malware you’ve had?

If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.


Filed under Interconnectivity, Malware Reports, Panda Security, Windows Tips and Tools

11 responses to “20 Years of Malware – Panda Security Ranks the Worst

  1. Memories. . How many do you remember? My very first computer running Windows 3.0 got hit with the Chernobyl virus. Took the Tech guy two weeks to clean the computer.

    • Bill Mullins

      Hi Connie,

      What a great memory you have! Chernobyl was definitely a major pain, since techies really didn’t have the skills, or the tools, (in those early days), to wipe out this pest.

      I remember my first infection, on a Win 95 machine, which cost me $180 to have removed (this is in the days when even a low end machine cost $3,000+), only to have it reappear the following day. Eventually, a reformat and re-installation of the OS was the only solution.

      I decided, then and there, to pursue computer security for my own peace of mind. No more $180 outlays for a “non-solution”.

      Thanks for the “memory”. BTW, I trust your blogging is going well.


  2. Hi. I had a win 95 my self and had a virus or two myself. cant remember what they were called though… when i got my mac i havnt been hit since. 😀 i know i can still get hit by Trojans still. havent yet but i know they suck!

  3. Pingback: Twitted by spywared

  4. freewareelite

    What’s my worst experience? No! In my life I’ve never, never been affected my a virus. If that’s false, it’s that there has not been any effect yet.
    Mostly it’s thanks to your valuable tech tips.


  5. Pingback: I peggiori malware degli ultimi 20 anni secondo Panda Security. Voi quanti ne avete incontrati? - Geekissimo

  6. Robby

    Hi Bill, you forgot to mention that these are all Microsoft-platform viruses. I recently heard of an acquaintance’s business network of 50 machines ( XP ) and 2 servers ( SBS ) that was totally wiped out by one of the Autorun variants ( Neeris ). The rest of us in non-Microsoft land just continue without a blip.

  7. Lee

    I always have problems with computer security. ArrgH! they’re always a pain…

  8. rachti

    really it’s a very good posting , good work