03/26/2023 at 00:01 by Henner Schröder – In 1999 the Melissa worm attacked the Internet – that happened on March 26th. Every day, PC Games Hardware takes a look back at the young but eventful history of the computer.
…1999: In the past, viruses were mostly spread via floppy disks, they deleted files or played tricks on their victims’ computers. The Internet, however, gave birth to a new generation of malware: worms that spread extremely quickly, crippling infrastructure. The Melissa worm, which appeared for the first time in a Usenet group on March 26, 1999, marks a new high point in this development. Melissa is a macro virus and is contained in a Word file called list.doc, which some versions of Outlook even open automatically, which starts the malicious routine; this ensures that Melissa automatically sends herself an e-mail to all addressees in the address book. Mailboxes around the world will soon be flooded with Melissa emails, servers will fail, and the epidemic will paralyze the Internet.
Microsoft will soon plug the gaps in Word and Outlook, but Melissa is just the beginning: the worm will be followed in the next few years by Iloveyou, Slammer, Blaster, Sasser, Conficker and others, causing billions of dollars in damage. After all, the author of the Melissa worm was sentenced to 20 months in prison in 2002.
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