Documentary Examines First PC Virus In History Called “Brain”

Mar 8, 2011
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The first PC virus in history was created back in 1986 and called “Brain.” Since this was before common use of computer networks and the world wide web, the virus was transmitted through a floppy disk, the original kind that was actually floppy and about the size of a dinner plate. F-Secure researcher Mikko Hypponen and his company have made a small documentary tracing Brain back to its roots and delivering it back home to the original writers of the virus, Basit and Amjad Farooq.

Hypponen remembers working on Brain back in the 80’s and when he reversed engineered it, the code revealed the names, address, and phone numbers for the brothers near Lahore Railway Station in Lahore, Pakistan. Hypponen travels to visit the Farooq brothers in Pakistan and interviews them about the story behind “Brain”.

The brothers said they wrote Brain to explore the security holes of operating systems, but did not make it a malicious virus. They called it a “friendly virus” and that it would only detect if there was enough space on the floppy, and then only goes to that particular floppy. They could also see if the code was spreading or if it stayed within a small circle. Brain is named after the brother’s own company, Brain Telecommunications Ltd., in Pakistan and the virus was written in the same building that the company is still in today. At the end of the short documentary Hypponen gives Brain back to its original creators some 25 years after they created it in the same building.

[via USA Today]


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