First PC Virus Created 25 Years Ago

Basit and Amjad Alvi of Lahore, Pakistan, twenty-five years ago this month brought the world its first computer virus, created by the brothers to protect their medical software from piracy.

The Brain Virus was designed to affect DOS-based PCs and was distributed in copies of a medical software that the brothers had created.

At the time, Time Magazine had done a news piece on the brothers, whose shop, Brain Computer Services, was famous for selling pirated versions of popular software like Lotus 1-2-3 and WordStar for as low as $1.50. All pirated software sold in the shop contained the Brain Virus.

Twenty-five years later, the now-benign virus has given way to more sophisticated malware used by criminals to rob consumers and banking institutions alike. A major cause of concern is that hackers are selling malware tool-kits designed to allow less-skilled hackers to launch malware attacks, CIO reports.

“Also known as crimeware, these kits are usually composed of prewritten malicious code for exploiting vulnerabilities along with various tools to customize, deploy, and automate widespread attacks,” anti-virus software Symantec said in a recent report.