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While the first computer virus (Creeper) was released on the ARPANET as a harmless experiment, the first computer virus to be released in the wild didn’t have malicious intent either.
Called “Brain,” the program was created in 1986 by the Farooq Alvi brothers of Pakistan as a method to deter copying the medical software they wrote. It targeted IBM PCs and would replace a floppy disk’s boot sector with a copy of the virus and flag the real boot sector as bad.
Infected boot sectors would read “Welcome to the Dungeon (c) 1986 Basie & Amends (pvt) Ltd VIRUS_SHOE RECORD V9.0 Dedicated to the dynamic memories of millions of viruses who are no longer with us today – Thanks GOODNESS!! BEWARE OF THE er..VIRUS : this program is catching program follows after these messages….$#@%[email protected]!!”
Because it wasn’t meant to be malicious, the brothers included contact information for removing Brain and soon found their phone lines flooded by concerned computer users from around the globe. Later, the Farooq brothers ran a Pakistani ISP.