Most consider the first notable moment in computer virus history came in 1949 when a Hungarian scientist John von Neumann Created the foundations of a self-replicating program and theory that was termed a “computer virus”.
Phone hackers known as “phone freaks” crack the AT&T pay phone system tones that validate that a call has been paid for. Using they infamous “blue box” this allowed the phone freaks to make free calls at any-time. AT&T later launched a vigorous investigation resulting in 200 convictions in 1970. In 1972 a John Draper aka “Captain Crunch” discovered plastic whistles provided in breakfast cereal also provided the tone needed to crack the AT&T systems.
The Creeper virus is created it is self-replicating program that was very experimental at the time. It infected TENEX operating systems networked through ARPANET. It was known by it’s message to the user “I am the Creeper, catch me if you can!”. Later the reaper program was created to delete creeper though it was a virus itself.
The WABBIT virus copies itself endlessly and very quickly tell eventually crashing the computer.
The ANIMAL is created. Some argue this was not actually a virus, but it still would copy itself and a related program into any directory available to the user. It would not overwrite items, nor access systems the user did not have permission to, over all the animal virus did not harm the machines short of duplicating itself potentially hundreds of times. This is considered the first Trojan virus.
The Elk Cloner is created and infects Apple II’s operating system only accessible through floppy disks. When inserting a disk that was infected it would automatically start a copy of the virus and then store on the computer. If a uninfected version of the operating system disk was inserted, the virus would then infect that disc. The Elk Cloner Virus did not intentionally damage systems but did have a the tendency to write over data on non DOS based disks. This was the first virus that escaped into the “wild” (meaning the virus infected computers outside of the lab or network that it was originally created in.)
The term virus is coined. The term was used to describe a program that can infect other programs by modifying them to include a possible evolved copy of itself. Cohen later demonstrates a computer virus like program that infects VAX11/750 system objects by installing itself.
ARF ARF a Trojan virus is distributed through BBS sites. It enticed users to install Arf Arf by claiming it could sort dos diskette directories. Which was extreamly appealing at the time as dos did not list files in an alphabetical order at the time.