Tech Life Hacks

Beware of virtual viral infections

Take steps to protect yourself from digital viruses

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While you take steps to protect your body from influenza viruses, including the coronavirus, ensure that you also take steps to protect your digital assets from computer viruses. Just as biological viruses mutate to survive, so do computer viruses.

The first computer virus, ironically called "Brain", was released in January 1986, written by two brothers in Lahore, Pakistan. Their intent was good - to protect their heart-monitoring software from being illegally duplicated and sold - but the outcome was not. The virus replaced the boot sector of the floppy disk of IBM PCs with a copy of the virus. The name, address and phone number of their shop were then displayed on infected PCs for users to call and get a legitimate copy of the program.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 04, 2020, with the headline Beware of virtual viral infections. Subscribe