In 1990, Symantec launches Norton Antivirus, one of the first anti-virus programs developed by a major company.
Also in 1990, the Dark Avenger Mutation Engine (DAME) is created. It’s a toolkit that turns ordinary viruses into polymorphic viruses. The Virus Creation Laboratory (VCL) is also made available.
In 1991, Tequila is the first widespread polymorphic virus found in the wild. Polymorphic viruses were specially designed to make detection difficult for virus scanners.
In 1992, as many as 1,300 viruses are in existence.
In 1994, the Good Times e-mail hoax tears through the Internet community. The hoax warns of a malicious virus that will erase an entire hard drive.
In 1995, Word Concept becomes one of the most prevalent viruses in the mid-1990s. It is spread through Microsoft Word documents.
In 1996, the Baza, Laroux and Staog viruses are the first to infect Windows95 files, Excel, and Linux respectively.
In 1998, StrangeBrew was the first virus to infect Java files. The Chernobyl virus spread quickly via .EXE files.
In 1999, The Melissa virus executes a macro in a document attached to an e-mail, which, in turn, forwards the document to 50 people in the user’s Outlook address book. Bubble Boy is the first worm that does not depend on the recipient opening an attachment for infection to set in. As soon as the user opens the e-mail, Bubble Boy strikes.
In 2000, The Love Bug, also known as the ILOVEYOU virus, sends itself out via Outlook. It also sends usernames and passwords to the virus’ author.
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