The computer virus, or just malware in general, is unique among computer programs because it evolves just like a real virus. It can change and mutate into stronger viruses that can cripple your computer and make you spend hundreds of dollars on malware software that may not even do anything.
All the computer virus carnage had to start somewhere, but where? The good people at TrendLabs have tossed up a little infographic that seeks to give us a look into how the computer virus has evolved over the years. The origin may surprise you since the first computer virus was made in 1986, created by two Pakistani brothers. It was called Brain and it was a file infector. The next two viruses, Michelangelo (1992) and Melissa (1999), attacked hard drives and servers.
Once we got into the 2000s, that's when the virus infection went global and began causing the mass damage that we see today. This era saw the introduction of the Worm virus that could be sent via email. Then things got really nasty with the introduction of Trojans. Viruses prior to this were made, as the infographic points out, for fame and notoriety. People were just doing it for the attention. Trojans were made for an entirely different reason - to steal your information.
If you thought that it couldn't get any worse, enter the current era of malware attacks over social networks. Facebook and Twitter users are targeted with fake ads and applications that hijack their account and steal their personal information. Facebook and Twitter are actively waging a war against such attacks, but it's going to keep happening until virus makers find a new target. The best way to protect yourself is to remain vigilant and not click on that Facebook link that asks you to install an application just to view a picture.
Check out the full infographic below. It's absolutely mind blowing that the computer virus has come so far and they will grow even more complex and terrifying. We're already seeing viruses fusing with worms to become a super virus.