The Dawn of the Computer Virus
It was a watershed moment in computer history. One you'd be forgiven for cursing ever happening.
If you've ever had to spend a lot of money on antivirus software, you can thank Dr. Fred Cohen ... for developing the modern computer virus we love.
Yes, it can all be traced back to Dr. Cohen some 26 years ago.
Fortunately, in addition to causing consternation and massive headaches for regular users and Fort Lauderdale computer repair experts alike a quarter-century later, his pioneering research has helped stop his own brainchild.
In short, by staying a step ahead, he has led the way in protecting computers and their users from the threats that surfaced in the years to come.
He recalled making the discovery at the University of Southern California.
After a neighboring university developed a Trojan horse - which allowed hackers to gain access to a machine - Dr. Cohen soon realized that the Trojan could be programmed to duplicate itself. And oh, how correct he turned out to be.
You could call it the proverbial light bulb going off.
"All of a sudden it dawned on me that if that Trojan horse copied itself into other programs, then all those programs would be infected ... and then everybody that ran any of those programs would get infected and so forth.""It was at that point immediately obvious that it was game over."
He discussed the idea with a colleague, Dr. Len Adleman.
"Fred approached me and said he had this new type of computer security threat, and he began to describe what we now call viruses," Adleman said.
"He wanted to run some actual experiments, in particular on the computer that I used. To me, there was really no point in running an experiment ... since it was so obvious that it was going to work as intended."
However, Dr. Cohen insisted they make sure - and at that moment in time, the very first computer virus was born. Jerks!
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