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Viruses used to be silly - here's the proof

Viruses used to be silly - here's the proof

Just as technology has changed and evolved over the past three decades, so has computer malware. Today most of the threats you run into online are actually data-stealing Trojans, file-locking ransomware, worms, botnets and others. They're usually meant to grab your information or money. See a longer list of malware types and how they work.

However, back in the day, almost every piece of malware was a good old-fashioned virus. Their main goal was to spread to as many computers as possible before popping up a message and then destroying everything on your system. While these viruses were destructive, they were also frequently silly or inventive. Don't believe us?

The Internet Archive has opened up the Malware Museum. It includes 78 examples of early malware that you can run and see how they worked. Don't worry; they're just recreations and they're running in a virtual machine online, not on your computer.

Some of the fun ones include Q WALKER.COM, which features an old man strolling across the screen.

malware_Q-WALKER.COM_screenshot

There's Q CASINO.COM, which spins a virtual slot machine and promises not to delete your drive if you win (warning: some language). SKYNET.COM pretends that Skynet from the Terminator movies has taken over your system.

Then there's FLIP.COM that turns the entire screen upside-down and backward. Or ones like ZOHRA.COM and LSD.COM that just made your screen go nuts.

Look through the museum and tell us in the comments which one is your favorite, or which ones you might have gotten. We did find that they work more reliably in Chrome that Firefox, in case you're having trouble seeing all of them.

Enjoy!

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