Everyone who will ever use a computer will almost certainly encounter a virus or malware at some point. Most of the time, this is a relatively minor issue that offers more of an annoyance than any real long term damage. However, there are plenty of examples of worse cases where the computer or its hard drive is rendered useless. With such a large number of viruses that have been released with varying degrees of harmfulness, let us take an examination as to which virus is the worst. If you were told that your computer had to be infected with one, which one do you want to have the least? Here are three possible answers:
Nail.exe – This has also been called the Aurora virus. Typically, you will not be able to find it on any of the 10 most threatening virus lists. That’s because it is not going to melt your hard drive. I am starting a little slow, but also with one that is more personal. You guessed it, I have had it on my computer. While not completely harmful, it was a real bugger to get rid of. To the best of my knowledge, the major virus killers (McAfee or Norton or other) still have not found a good way to get rid of it. The purpose of this virus is to randomly generate unsolicited pop-ups ads (which categorizes it as adware). It serves little threat in terms of damaging hardware or software, but it can hurt overall computer speed and performance. The net is filled with supposed step-by-step fixes, but I struggled to find any that fully removed the program. Some would address it only to see it come back upon next restart. The final result was to overwrite it with a blank file executable file and then delete than final. Given the time involved and personal nature of this issue, I am giving it might top slot, even if the next two candidates have proven to be significantly more dangerous…
The Code Red Virus – Ten years ago, this was the king of the block. It caused damage via two ways – attacking the hard drive and also stealing identities. This virus worked cleverly worked itself through the back door to a Windows 2000 system via a loophole in the programming. Once embedded, it began to run covertly and sent private user information back the virus’ creator (or whoever was using it to benefit). Even now, there is no real cure – other than scrapping or wiping your hard drive and starting from scratch.
Storm Worm – Storm Worm made a name for itself five years ago. This program would install itself onto the computer by being downloaded via faux links in planted news stories. At that point, it would become a Trojan horse using the infected computer as its zombie. As most users know, a trojan horse is a virus or program disguised to appear as a regular file. A zombie is a computer that is operating, on some level, under the control of another program, becoming a tool to spread spam (or other viruses) for the perpetrator. Storm Worm typically did not inflict much damage on its own, but was the bus that carried the more violent passengers. This program was tough to stop due to its speed and volume, it moved fast and replicated many times over before the user was ever aware of what happened. Like roaches, it was not particularly difficult to exterminate – it was more a case of being able to have faith that you destroyed the whole thing.
There are many other viable candidates that I left off here, each with its own method and trail of tears left behind. Should you encounter any of them, I do not envy your road ahead.
– Felix Chesterfield
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