Two of the Most Infamous Computer Viruses

For most of us, computer viruses are a hidden phenomenon. With a little bit of web savvy, and an update antivirus software, the risk of downloading an infective program onto your personal computer is minimal. However, this is not, and has not always been, the case. Throughout the early days of the internet, computer viruses were a much more prescient problem for your average computer user – and in the modern day, governments, business and major public institutions must also be wary of ransomware and cyberwarfare attacks. From industrial sabotage to high-tech vandalism or criminal ransomware that aims to extort a profit from organisations they infect, these are two of the highest profile viruses ever programmed – which all had huge financial and practical consequences for the unlucky networks that were subject to their attacks. Stuxnet Probably the most famous of cyberwarfare programmes, the Stuxnet virus targets PLCS – not Private Limited Companies, but Programmable Logic Controllers. Essentially PLCs control the function of industrial machines. In this case, the virus specifically targeted a PLC made by Siemens and used by many industrial facilities around the globe. However, Stuxnet had a specific target in mind – the Iranian nuclear programme. Released in 2010, reportedly via an infected flash drive so that it could get into private networked machines, Stuxnet caused the spinning centrifuges in uranium enrichment facilities to break themselves...

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