Software and computer development has had its fair share of scares and difficult times. From viruses to bugs, find out what were the scariest software programs ever.
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So far, computers have been somewhat of a miracle. They have brought about a revolution and introduced a new age for humanity; the information age. However, not all was wondrous throughout the history of computers. In their chronicles, computers have also been a host of some of the biggest frights for people around the world and even threatened our very existence. Some were found to be nothing more than superstition, but others turned out to be very real, leaving our technology vulnerable along with all of its developments. We have narrowed them all down to the four that were the most fondly remembered.
IBM was the major computer manufacturer during the 80’s. Their computers were regarded for its robust nature and virtual reliability. However, it was soon shown how hardware can be attacked in a completely different way; through a computer virus.
The first ever computer virus was named ‘Brian’, and it infected IBM computers by making it impossible for them to boot up. While powering an infected IBM computer, a message would print on the screen which included the sentence “Welcome to the Dungeon…”
The situation became critical when even NASA reported that their computers were not switching on due to this new malicious software that seemed to be not just corrupting computers, but was also spreading to others like a disease. The developers of the virus were finally contacted and Brian was contained. But since then, computer security has become a critical issue that could potentially cripple the computer network around the world.
Also known as the Year 2000 Bug, it was a speculation by many people that the computers around the world would stop working at the turn of the new millennium, since their clocks were not programmed to function in the year 2000.
This led to the iconic Y2K scare in America that the world was coming to an end at the dawn of the century as computers would all simultaneously stop working which would lead to collapse of banks, military and infrastructure.
The Y2K bug was said to be present in all the computers and would cause a global crisis of unprecedented level. However, when the year 2000 finally came, nothing happened. The computers never stopped working and the entire world breathed a sigh of relief.
A Zip Bomb is considered to be in the grey area of computer viruses. Technically, it’s not a virus, however, itsbehaviour no less malicious and damaging. Zip Bomb is simply a file of compressed data. The file itself is only around 50 kilobytes big, but if opened, it is uncompressed to almost 1 million gigabytes in size. This gargantuan unloading of data would be so crippling to a computer that it would sometimes even inflict damage to the hardware, due to the processor trying to handle the enormous surge of data.
The real danger of zip bombs is that they can be easily sent through email or even hidden in a link on a webpage due to their small size. Just one accidental click on the file would lead to a user ruining their computer. Recently, though, zip bombs are no longer a threat and many security protocols can easily detect them and protect users from opening them.
Computers were always thought to be nothing more than ‘dumb machines’, that they could never match the intelligence of humans. However, that changed in 1996, when a program called ‘Deep Blue’ defeated the world grandmaster in a game of Chess.
Chess was always regarded as a prestigious sport that can only be mastered by ingenious humans. However, Deep Blue stunned the world when even the best living player of Chess could not beat a machine at the game.
Deep Blue has been considered a triumph of software engineering, but too many people, it’s a dark premonition that perhaps one day, computers will out-smart man. That they will become even more intelligent that people rendering our very existence meaningless.
Author Bio: This article was the work of Collien Paul; a writer, researcher and reporter for SeekClip.com She is a professional in hardware and software engineering and has been on the forefront of all the latest tech developments in recent times. She is also fascinated by the history of computers and how they were shaped over time. Her contributions have been invaluable and we look forward to her future work.