A History of Anti-Virus Software

by Keith Williams
Computer Virus History

This is quite an interesting topic to look at, especially from the vantage point of the factors which have influenced the evolution of anti-virus software over the years. As the computer age progressed computer viruses became more devious, there was a marked increase in their activity and they became more diversified. Today we find ourselves at the point where viruses are able to attack any computer system which is connected to the internet.

During the early days computers were only used and became accessible to huge corporations and an elite few who could afford the technology. As a result there were occasional disruptions which were not a cause for concern. The first developers of viruses released these bits of code as a prank to annoy other computer users. Unfortunately things did not remain there.

With time computers started becoming part of the home environment. The creators of computer viruses had more places to release their wares. With this increase in possible working area, viruses also evolved and changed from just being an annoyance to being elements of vandalism able to damage computer systems and storage media. As an attempt to put an end to this malicious behavior, the first antivirus software was created in 1987. At this time floppy drives were the main source of infection. Thus antivirus software was embraced by businesses mainly, while home users become more vigilant about what disks were inserted into their home PCs.

The internet age was born round about 1990. With this, a new open system was available for the creators of what had now become malicious applications. With time these viruses were not only vandals, but took on the role of rogues as well. In this role, viruses were now able to infect computer systems and transmit sensitive information from the infected systems to their developers. In the initial stages of the internet age, the number of viruses in circulation was still few in number. As a result the need for regular updates was still not vital. While business again took the initiative with the implementation of preventative software, home users started becoming aware of the dangers but were still not entirely converted to seeing the importance of protecting their computer systems by installing antivirus software.

Today, things have changed dramatically. The attacks of malicious viruses on computers and networks have intensified. The viruses have also increased in their ferocity and they have diversified in their action and type of attacks. Both businesses and home computer users now consider it normal to have their systems protected with the best antivirus software they are able to gain access to.

Most reputable antivirus software also offers real-time protection. This gives the computer added protection in that the software is able to scan the vital areas continuously in the background. This allows the software to intercept a possible malicious threat before it has the opportunity on break through the computer defense. Another vital part of the scene today is regular antivirus updates, which many reliable computer antivirus vendors release daily.

In a short space of time computer viruses have evolved from pranks to malicious programs capable to causing irreparable damage to computer systems and networks. This has resulted in a huge industry focusing on producing antivirus software which can successfully neutralize the effects of these malicious applications.

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