The Nastiest Computer Virus

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The vast majority of the computer using world has had to deal with a computer virus in their lifetimes.  In most cases, it was likely just an inconvenience to be dealt with.  In some extreme cases, it ruined their hard drive altogether.  With so many computer viruses of various methods and levels of infliction floating around, it begs the question:  which one is the nastiest?  What computer virus does the general public least want to see on their hard drive?  My top 3 answers:

 

Code Red Virus - This was an especially malicious virus circa ten years ago.  It had the twofold effect of infecting the computer, but also leading to identity theft.  The Code Red Virus took advantage of a quirk in Windows 2000/NT to work itself into the backdoor of the system.  From there, it actually could take control of the computer and give all information back to the creator.  There was/is no real reliable cure for this virus.  The user's best bet was to reformat the hard drive, save his hardware, and just start from fresh.  If one was willing to spend the money, they could hire a company to recover vital information off the hard drive first.

 

Storm Worm - This virus became "popular" about five years ago.  Storm Worm usually installed itself onto the intended victim's machine via links to fake news stories.  Once downloaded, it served as a Trojan horse, turning the computer into a zombie.  Zombies are machines that essentially cease to think for themselves.  They become mechanisms for spam by a third party that is now in control of their actions.  The Storm Worm was not the program that actually did the damage, merely the program that delivered the perpetrator.  Storm Worm moved fast, infecting and replicating and then attaching itself to the next set of spam to do it all over again.  Compared to some other viruses over the years, this was not the hardest one to eradicate.  Most anti-virus software can kill it for good.  But it makes this list because of its commonality and the speed with which it worked.

 

Nail Virus - Also known as the Aurora virus, this one will not make most virus top ten lists.  However, I include it in this list because I personally was affected it and it was hell to get rid of.  Even today, none of the common anti-virus programs (Norton, McAfee, etc) have the capabilities of finding and/or removing it.  The Nail Virus was an adware program that would produce various pop-ups for web browsers at random times.  While not particularly dangerous from a hardware damage or identity theft perspective, it vastly slowed the performance of my PC (yes, I still had a PC at this time).  There were various fix-it kits offered on the net, but I found none of them to work fully (they could uninstall the virus for a given session, but the virus would reinstall on the next reboot).  The best fix I could find was to create a blank text file and rename it over the nail.exe file.  This would prevent some error messages, but never did fix the overall performance of the machine.  Eventually, I just upgraded hardware to the point where I kept the PC, but now use it only as a music box housing Itunes.

 

If you do experience any of these viruses, all is not lost.  New anti-virus software and/or recovery companies may be able to restore your machine to its previous state.  Nonetheless, I do not envy your road ahead.

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Eric Westerman has 13897 articles online and 13 fans

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The Nastiest Computer Virus

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This article was published on 2010/09/21