Type Boot sector virus
Date Discovered 1988.03
Place of Origin Turin, Italy
Source Language Assembly
Platform DOS
File Type(s)
Infection Length
Reported Costs

Pingpong is an early boot sector virus from March of 1988. It originated in Italy and sometimes went by the name Italian or some variation on that.


Pingpong is introduced to a system when it is booted from an infected floppy disk. When the disk is booted, the virus becomes memory resident. The original boot sector is moved to a free location on the disk, which is marked as a bad sector. While the virus us resident, it will infect any floppy disk accessed for reading or writing.

30 minutes after the virus activates it displays a ball that bounces off the edges of the screen, or off of certain characters.


The variant known as Typo is similar to the original in most respects, except that it causes errors in any document going out to the printer. It also had influence on the first multipartite virus, as Ghostballs which itself is a modified form of Vienna, drops it on boot sectors.


Pingpong originated in Italy and spread all over the world from there. It was the most common virus until Stoned

Other facts

The virus had the same problem with the POP CS instruction as Alameda. It could only infect on 8080 and 8086 machines.


Totally Geek, PingPong Assembly Code.

F-Secure Antivirus, F-Secure Virus Descriptions : Ping-Pong.

Joe Wells. IBM Research, Timeline. 1996.08.30

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