I remember when I first heard about computer viruses.
It was the 1980s and I was working for a small software house. Keith, my manager, showed me an article about the new phenomenon, in Computer Weekly magazine. The concept of computer viruses provoked a long and morose conversation about human nature. Why would anyone want to write a program which would damage other people’s computers? We shook our heads sadly and muttered about how it didn’t make any sense.
But time moves on, and now computer viruses are a fact of life. Thanks to various research projects and police investigations, we now have a good idea why they happen. There are three main reasons.
- For the challenge – some saddo, or group of saddos, decides to see if they can upset and frustrate innocent members of the public around the world
- For material gain – sometimes people who have shown that they know how to write and distribute viruses can be offered jobs with anti-virus companies, or even with government agencies – and of course some viruses are direct attempts to extort money
- To mess up the competition – viruses can be deliberately unleashed to try to damage the computer systems of a rival organisation, be it another company, or a foreign government. It’s thought that these are becoming more common as time goes on, hence the huge numbers of viruses that originate in Russia or China.
But did you know that computer viruses can be used for good?
I’ll tell you all about it next time.
In the meantime, if you’ve been infected by a computer virus, or if you’re just not sure whether you’re protected, why not have a chat with Ascot Computer Man? If I can sort out your problem or answer your question over the phone or by email, I won’t charge you a penny.