MyDoom-The Worst Computer Virus in History

Well, precisely, MyDoom is not a virus but a worm. The title says virus because
most readers are familiar with them that way. But there’s a subtle difference
between them which I will explain later. Let’s get to the interesting part first.
More than 350,000 new pieces of malware are discovered every day, with an
annual cost of over $55 billion. But one virus – the MyDoom virus in 2004 –
leads the pack with $38 billion in damages.
The worst computer virus outbreak in history, Mydoom caused estimated
damage of $38 billion in 2004, but its inflation-adjusted cost is actually $52.2
billion. Also known as Novara, this malware is technically a “worm” spread by
mass emailing. At one point, the Mydoom virus was responsible for 25% of all
emails sent.
Mydoom scraped addresses from infected machines, then sends copies of itself to
those addresses. It also roped those infected machines into a web of computers
called a botnet that distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
MyDoom will work aggressively to find other email addresses on the victim’s
system to send itself on to.
These attacks were intended to shut down a target website or server.
Such was the impact of MyDoom that on 26 July 2004, it took down Google,
preventing users from conducting web searches for most of the day. Other
popular search engines of the time, including Yahoo, Lycos, and Alta Vista, also
experienced slow performance due to the attack.
MyDoom is still around today, generating 1% of all phishing emails. That’s no
small feat considering the 3.4 billion phishing emails sent each day. By that
figure, MyDoom has taken on a life of its own, infecting enough poorly-protected
machines to send 1.2 billion copies of itself per year, 17 years after its creation.
Though a $250,000 reward was offered, the developer of this dangerous
computer worm was never caught.
MyDoom distribution remains similar to the way it has always worked, with
email subject lines designed to dupe the user into opening an attachment sent
from a spoofed email address. In many cases, these are based around failed
delivery notifications that suggest the user needs to open the malicious
document to find out why.
Other subject lines include random strings of characters, ‘hello,’ ‘hi,’ and ‘Click me
baby, one more time.’ The lures sound basic, but they still prove sufficient
enough to remain effective.
The motive of this blog is obviously to know about the worst computer virus in
history, but it’s also to learn about basic levels of cyber hygiene that may prevent
such emails from being successful. Things like spotting suspicious file types and
being vigilant to odd-looking email sender addresses.
Virus vs. worm
The difference between a virus and a worm is that a virus needs another
program to make it work, like a word processor or web browser. By contrast, a
worm is self-contained and can run, copy, and send copies of itself all on its own.
Some of the most dangerous computer viruses are actually worms. For the most part, this worm behavior means the malware is self-sufficient and could
continue to do this forever, so long as people open the email attachments. That’s
why this worm is so deadly.

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