Brain, the first PC Virus turns 30 today

The transfer process of virus is much sophisticated today. Earlier, it was pretty simple! Business people who traveled the world with floppy disks in their briefcases could infect the computers on which they used the disks. BRAIN was the first such virus to be made. It exploited a security issue in MS-DOS, the OS prior to the advent of Windows, by replacing the boot sector of the disk with the virus and renaming it with the name ©BRAIN. All subsequent disks placed in the drive would then be infected.


Brain PC Virus turns 30

Brain, earned the reputation as the first major personal computer virus, created on January 19, 1986, by 2 brothers – Basit Alvi and Amjad Farooq Alvi at their computer shop in Lahore, Pakistan. It was also labelled as the “stealth viruses” since most computers of the 1980 period had less/minimal internal hard drives and everything had to function from floppy disks.

It’s interesting to note that along the code, the writers of the virus added their names and address along with the contact number to get in contact. And many years later, the same details offered in the code lead you to one of the largest and oldest Internet companies in Pakistan-  Brain Telecommunications Ltd. The original creators of the virus – brothers Basit and Amjad Farooq Alvi still work in the company they created.

Read: Evolution of malware.

The brothers say that the virus they developed was never intended to destroy any data or harm someone but an experiment to see to which extent the flaws in the security of the system could travel during testing. They have no regrets as the software they designed didn’t destroy any data or break any systems. In fact, it was that kind of test which sent alarming signals to companies to start taking security more seriously.

Watch the video on YouTube.

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The author Hemant Saxena is a post-graduate in technology and has an immense interest in following Microsoft and other technology developments around the world. Quiet by nature, he is an avid Lacrosse player.