All malware is inherently dangerous, but there are a few threats that stand out amongst the others when it comes to inflicting damage. We took a look at some of the most destructive malware of all time from traditional viruses, worms and Trojans to increasingly prevalent PUAs such as adware and spyware. This list, while covering most of the all-time worst threats, is not inclusive. For example, notable threats are not on this list such as the ILOVEYOU bug, although they also rank as highly destructive. How many of these threats do you remember?
My Doom Worm--2004
The My Doom worm, known as one of the fastest spreading viruses in history, passes both the ILOVEYOU bug and SoBig worm in speed. It was transmitted via email and usually contained a variety of subject lines including, "Error", "Mail Delivery System", "Test" or "Mail Transaction Failed". Though its creator still remains unknown, some speculate that it originated in Russia. The worm was first discovered and named by an employee at McAfee for the line, "mydom" that appeared in its code.
Superfish adware made its claim to fame through a class action lawsuit filed against Lenovo, the largest maker of PCs in the world. Superfish spyware came pre-installed on Lenovo machines without Lenovo customers being told of its existence. Superfish installed its own root certificate authority which allowed it to void SSL/TLS connections, creating an opening or "hole" for attackers. This exposed Lenovo users to potential cyber criminals while providing Superfish and Lenovo with a way to target unsuspecting users with tailored advertisements.
Code Red Worm--2001
Code Red was a computer worm that affected almost 360,000 computers by targeting PCs that were running Microsoft's IIS web server. The worm was first discovered by two eEye Digital Security employees and was named for the Code Red Mountain Dew they were drinking when they discovered it. The worm targeted a vulnerability in Microsoft's IIS web server using a type of security software vulnerability called a buffer overflow.
In January of 2003, the Slammer worm struck 75,000 users with a DoS attack. The worm targeted a vulnerability found in Microsoft SQL and spread rapidly. Denial-of-service attacks are used by malware writers to overload a companies' network with meaningless traffic, eventually causing the network to crash. Owen Maresh of Akamai is credited with being the first person to...