Timeline of important viruses and worms

This is a timeline of prominent viruses and worms. Not all are included, but we try to make an effort to include the most interesting and innovative ones along with any virus or worm that has anything mildly interesting about it. We also include some milestones in computing, hacking and virus history.

Early History

1949
John von Neumann gives a series of lectures entitled "Theory and Organization of Complicated Automata", which would become the basis of a later paper on self-reproducing automata.

1959
Lionel Penrose published Self-Producing Machines in Scientific American.

1966
John von Neumann writes "Theory & Organisation of Complicated Automata", which theorizes about programs that can reproduce.

1969
One of the earliest accounts of a self-replicating program, known as a Fork bomb is executed on a Burroughs 5500 at the University of Washington.

1970's

ca. 1970
Creeper and Reaper make their runs through the ARPANET.

1972-1974
Several accounts of Fork bombs take place in this era, including one by Q The Misanthrope in 1972, one at Yale University some time before 1973 and another in 1974 that resulted in the discharge of a young employee.

1975.01
John Walker adds the "Pervade" subroutine to his Animal program, making it a self-replicating program.

1979
John Schoch and Jon Hupp perform experiments with their worms at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. The term "worm" is coined to describe programs that infect computers over a network.

1980's

1981
Both Richard Skrenta and Joe Dellinger begin coding viruses for the Apple II at the end of this year.

1982
Elk Cloner, the first boot-sector virus and first virus for home computers appears.

Joe Dellinger's virus spreads through Texas A&M at around the same time as Elk Cloner.

1983.11.03
Fred Cohen conducts experiments with viruses. The term "virus" is coined to describe file-infecting programs.

1986

1986.01
Brain appears in Pakistan.

1986.12
Ralf Burger presents Virdem at a conference of the Chaos Computer Club in Hamburg, Germany.

Some time this year

BHP, the first stealth virus, Commodore 64 virus and Cluster virus is coded in Germany.

1987

1987.10
Cascade virus appears in Central Europe.

Jerusalem begins to spread in Israel.

1987.11
Lehigh first seen at Lehigh university in Pennsylvania, USA.

SCA, the first Amiga virus is found in Germany.

1987.11.22
Signum, the first Atari ST virus appears.

1987.12.09
Christmas tree spreads through the EARNET and BITNET.

1988

1988.02.01
The Stoned boot sector virus makes its first appearance in New Zealand.

1988.02.06
Macmag is posted to a Compuserve Hypercard forum.

Denzuko is completed and released in Indonesia.

1988.04
The Vienna file virus appears in Austria.

Scores, allegedly released by a disgruntled fired employee, begins infecting Macintosh computers.

1988.09
Dark Avenger begins work on the Eddie virus.

DBase, a database-corrupting .com infector is released.

1988.11.02
Morris's worm makes its run through the Internet.

1988.12.22
Father Christmas appears.

1989

1989.03.01
Datacrime is released to eventually cause some hysteria before its trigger date of October 13.

1989.06
The first of a few variants of Icelandic, the first virus to infect only .exe files, appear in Iceland.

1989.10

Ghostballs, the first multipartite virus is discovered in Iceland.

Frodo, the first stealth DOS virus is discovered in Israel.

1989.11
A dropper for Pixel is published in a Greek magazine and is released in Bulgaria.

1990's

1990

1990.01
Mark Washburn creates the Chameleon family, the first polymorphic viruses.

1990.06
Joshi is isolated in India.

1991

1991.01
Starship appears in the Soviet Union.

1991.04
The multipartite Tequila virus is released in Switzerland.

1991.05
Dir-II is released in Bulgaria.

1991.08.17
The first version the Dark Avenger Mutation Engine (DAME) is released.

1991.10
Invol, the first virus to infect .sys files is isolated in the United States.

1992

1992.01
The Pogue virus is released.

1992.02
Dedicated is created for Sarah Gordon by Dark Avenger.

1992.03.06
The Michelangelo virus payload is triggered after much hysteria before the trigger date. Actual damage is minimal

1992.05
Commander is created by Dark Avenger.

1992.07
The Virus Creation Laboratory is released.

1992.09
Winvir, the first Windows virus created by Masud Khafir is found in Sweden.

1992.10
Exebug, a CMOS-modifying virus is discovered.

1993

1993.06
Cruncher, a helpful file-compressing virus is released.

1993.08
SatanBug, a virus with nine different encrytion levels is discovered.

1994

1994.04
Pathogen, a virus using the SMEG polymorphic engine is released in Britain.

1994.11.15
Good Times email hoax begins spreading.

1994.12
DMV, the first macro virus, is created by Joel McNamara.

1995

1995.07
Concept, the first Microsoft Word macro virus in the wild is discovered.

1996

1996.01
VLAD releases Bizatch, the first Windows 95 virus.

1996.07.25
The Laroux Excel Macro virus is discovered at two different oil companies in Alaska and South Africa.

1996.10.20
VLAD publishes the first Linux virus, Staog.

1996.12.13
29A publishes its first issue.

Some time this year

Ply, the first nonencrypted polymorphic virus is released.

1997

Some time this year
Jacky Qwerty releases the Cabanas virus, the first Windows NT virus with many different features.

1997.02
Jacky Qwerty releases the CAP macro virus.

1997.02.18
Sharefun becomes the first virus to spread by email.

1998

1998.03.18
Ehud Tenebaum, the leader of a cracker group which included two California teenagers, is arrested after they cracked 500 US Defense Department systems.

1998.05.16
Adm, the first Linux worm is completed.

1998.06.25
CIH begins spreading in Taiwan.

1998.08.19
The Strangebrew Java virus is discovered.

1999

1999.01.27
Spanska's Happy99 worm is released.

1999.02.22
1nternal creates Triplicate, the first Office macro capable of infecting on more than one Office application (in this case Word, Excel and PowerPoint).

1999.03.26
The Melissa macro virus becomes one of the first self-replicating programs to get a great deal of media attention.

1999.04.26
CIH's payload triggers, causing damage in the hundreds of millions.

1999.06.06
ExploreZip begins making its run through email systems.

Cross, a virus capable of infecting document, VBS and HTML files is discovered.

1999.11.08
One of the last outbreaks of an actual virus, as opposed to worm takes place when Funlove is released.

1999.11.09
Bubbleboy, the first preview pane infector is discovered.

Some time this year
Rohitab codes Blackbat.

2000's

2000.05.04
Loveletter spreads from the Phillipines, causing the first widespread email outages.

2000.05.26
Zulu releases Stages, the first worm with a false .txt extension.

2000.09.22
Phage, the first PalmOS virus is reported.

2000.09.25
Hybris, a worm with updateable plugins is released by Vecna.

2001

2001.01.16
Ramen infects Red Hat Linux systems.

2001.02.19
Z0mbie releases Zmist, the first metamorphic virus.

2001.03.13
Magistr, a dangerous virus with worm-like features and an advanced payload is released in Sweden.

2001.03.27
Benny releases the first Linux/Windows cross-platform infector, Winux.

2001.05.08
The worm Sadmind infects Solaris, a UNIX-derived system.

2001.07.13
Codered begins spreading through the Internet.

2001.07.17
Sircam, a document stealing worm, spreads through email.

2001.09.18
Nimda spreads around the world, infecting through web pages, email, networks and even a unique method of file infection.

2001.10.25
The first variant of Klez is released.

2002

2002.01.08
LFM, the first Shockwave Flash virus is sent to Sophos Antivirus.

2002.02.11
The Mental Driller finishes coding the first variant of MetaPHOR, a metamorphic virus with a cross-platform variant, MetaPHOR.D.

2002.02.15
Yaha, later variants of which will be used in a war between Indian and Pakistani hackers, makes its first appearance.

2002.02.26
The first virus written in C# , Sharp is completed by Gigabyte.

2002.09.30
Tanatos begins spreading by email.

2003

2003.01.09
Sobig begins spreading through emails.

2003.01.13
Gigabyte creates YahaSux in retaliation for a variant of Yaha that attacked her website.

2003.01.25
Slammer becomes the fastest spreading worm in the history of the Internet, infecting hundreds of thousands of systems within seconds of its release.

2003.08.01
Mimail begins spreading through email.

2003.08.11
Blaster begins to spread across the Internet.

2003.08.16
Dumaru appears.

2003.08.18
Welchia attempts to patch the exploits used by Blaster.

2003.09.14
Swen, possibly from Slovakia, spreads across the internet using several different vectors.

2004

2004.01.18
The first of many Beagle variants makes its appearence.

2004.01.26
Mydoom, a trojan-dropping worm, is discovered.

2004.02.16
Sven Jaschan releases Netsky, whose later variants will combat the Beagle and Mydoom worms.

2004.03.19
The Witty worm begins its attack on over 100 computers at a US military base.

2004.03.23
The first variant of Blackworm is released. Though the original is never prominent, a later variant released in 2006 becomes very widespread.

2004.04.30
Sven Jaschan releases Sasser causes widespread internet outages around the world. Sasser.E would serve the same purpose as Netsky, to destroy Beagle and Mydoom.

2004.06.14
The first Symbian worm, Caribe, is coded by Vallez.

2004.10.22
Opener, the first major threat to Macintosh OSX appears.

2004.12.21
Santy, the first worm to find new hosts with Google, is released.

2005

2005.03.07
Commwarrior, the first worm to infect phones through MMS is discovered.

2005.10.04
Spacehero begins spreading on Myspace, racking up over 1,000,000 friends for Samy.

2005.10.31
Sony BMG was found to have purposefully infected music CDs with a rootkit in an attempt to prevent illegal copying of music.

2005.12.15
Dasher appears.

2006 and After

2006.02.10
Oompa, the forst worm for Mac OSX is discovered.

2006.02.17
Inqtana is created for Mac OSX computers as a concept worm.

2006.08.18
The first of many Stration variants appears.

2007.01.19
Zhelatin, also known as the Storm Worm, begins spreading through emails with sensational subject lines.

2008.02
29A officially disbands.

2008.11.20
The original version of Conficker appears.

2009.04.01
Media says on this date Conficker is supposed to release some unknown damaging payload. The worm does communicate with some of its domains, but the doomsday scenario that the media was predicting does not come true.

2010's

2010.08.20
Imsolk appears, and is mostly only notable for the fact that it is an email worm when that type of program was thought to be dying out.

2010.06.17
Stuxnet, the first worm with a (suspected) military purpose is discovered. It had actually been spreading since about a year before and some components were compiled a year and a half earlier.

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