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Security Windows Technology

20 Years of Innovative Windows Malware 82

snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Woody Leonhard takes a look at the past 20 years of innovative Windows malware — an evolution that provides insights into the kinds of attacks to come. From macro viruses, to interstitial infections, to spray attacks, to industrial espionage, 'there's been a clear succession, with the means, methods, and goals changing definitively over time,' Leonhard writes, outlining the rise of Windows malware as a succession of ingenious breakthroughs to nefarious ends."
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20 Years of Innovative Windows Malware

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  • Remember the good ole' days, when malware spread by floppy disk?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I remember the good old days when viruses spread by hand.

    • I remember creating boot sector viruses for DOS -- we'd trade back and forth in the dorm, testing each others skills. So, yes.
    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      I remember getting by Stealth virus in college. We had to use McAfee VirusScan to clean up our 3.5" floppy disks. Ugh.

    • by Longjmp ( 632577 )
      I remember very well.
      Back in the Win 3.x days my boss has brought 99% of infections to the company because he had to stick his floppy into every slot he could find...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    And it had the dates right. [] Cascade.... now a PE infector! Or not...
  • The losing strategy of trying to enumerate all the bad software [] in existence is so stupid because bad software outnumbers good software, so why can't we enumerate all the good software - all versions?

    In theory you can never be sure that you've removed malware. A compromised computer is compromised forevermore.

    I honestly think with enough smart people, the right technology and software you can make malicious software less of a problem. Here's an example:

    rather than installing the antivirus on your PC, you ta

    • I see a market for a x86 PC with a coreboot+XenClient+IllumOS (because of ZFS) system firmware, virtualizing windows, with checksum protection of core system files and registered, with restore from original known-good snapshots, per file. Unsigned executable execution triggers a system call, in turn trapping to the hypervizor, triggering a snapshot, before the first untrusted instruction is executed. On boot the user is presented with the option of a friendly management console, allowing the installation to
  • Better Link (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nemyst ( 1383049 ) on Monday February 28, 2011 @04:43PM (#35341086) Homepage

    I wish they'd link to the print page: []

    At least this way you avoid the obnoxious SIX pages layout for what could fit in a single page easily. I know, I know... The submitter is always an InfoWorld employee and /. editors don't know the meaning of the word "edit", but hey, I can still ask? Beg, maybe?

    • Re:Better Link (Score:4, Informative)

      by Capt.DrumkenBum ( 1173011 ) on Monday February 28, 2011 @04:48PM (#35341142)
      Look on the bright side... You are going to get a +5 Informative for posting a simple link. :)
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Don't take this the wrong way, but does it kill you to hit the print button yourself? I mean, sheesh. I know, I know... you're being tracked as you move your mouse to the button, etc.

    • AutoPager for Firefox []/Chrome [] automatically finds all the the div-elements containing article text or other primary page content on paginated websites and stitches them together into a single page dynamically as you scroll down. Can't surf without it!
    • No AutoPager add-on on your FF? Turn in your geek card.
  • Is the alternative headline. No shit, Sherlock.
  • Let's see...There was DOS then Windows 3.x, Windows 95, Windows NT, Windows 98, BOB, Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7. I think that's a little more than 20 years actually.

  • Someone smarter than I am may have an (informed) opinion about whether malware and other types of attacks will have a Moore's Law-like life cycle. Are the bad guys winning? I'd say that they're winning if they will predictably make use of publicly networked computers in business or at home more trouble than it's worth.. Adding to the bad guys' risks are the good guys who are dancing with the devil with their untapped treasure trove of personal information.

  • 20 years! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KevinColyer ( 883316 ) on Monday February 28, 2011 @06:05PM (#35341896) Homepage

    Why have we put up with 20 years of Windows virus's for so long?


    What a complete waste of time. And my time is worth much more that the paltry licence fees I have shelled out over the years!!!

    Is there any way to say that this is not an epic fail for the Win16/32 platform? On other platforms (Mac, Linux, other Unix's) the total amount of malware is hardly about 100 items in that time... Even if it is around 1000 (I really don't know) it is insignificant in comparison.

    I have had not one malware issue in ten years of hosting Linux servers and five years as a Desktop OS on multiple PC's. My last Windows issue was a false positive: AVG thinking it had found a torjan in hal.dll and "healing" it. Thanks AVG. Several hours of work to restore that machine... (the re-imaging broke).

    No Windows on every one of my desktops thanks!

    • Whatever, man, malware on Windows is far superior to any other malware on any other platform, by far. It alone supports an entire industry, and without it, thousands of programmers and researchers and experts would need to find something else to do to put food on their kids' plate. People gotta eat, right?
  • Well... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward least something about Windows is innovative.

  • So before 1991 malware wasn't innovative?

    (I don't really know, I wasn't dealing with "windows" back then, but I was dealing with viruses.- I thought the disk-validator type virus was particularly nasty. Workbench 2 fixed that backdoor, but there were a lot of people running WB1.3 amigas.

"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM