Since the Internet started becoming more frequent on every aspect of people lives, so have the viruses that, most people from the 80’s, can remember.
Mikko Hypponen, a software engineer, has spent over twenty years gathering and analyzing computer viruses from the 80’s and the 90’s. Now Chief research officer at security firm F-Secure, Hypponen started to work with computer viruses since 1991.
Mykko figured a way to share his bizarre collection of malware with the world by running software written for DOS computers in the Internet Archive. However, Viruses have been manipulated in order to make them only for visual entertainment, as for the original purpose is highly undesirable.
Twenty-five years ago computer viruses were not as harmful as they are now, and after gathering a large number of MS-DOS classic viruses, a nostalgia growth is assured. Viruses like Casino were the inspiration for Saw’s Jigsaw maniac, making users unable to delete a certain game without erasing all personal data.
In a 2011 talk Hypponen explained, “The casino virus is neat. It actually takes a copy of your file allocation table to memory, and then it overwrites it on your hard drive. So you’ve just lost all your files,” he explains. “But it has a copy in RAM right? And now it lets you play a game, so if you win the game – nicknamed Disk Destroyer- it writes your file allocation table back to the drive, restoring your stuff. If you lose, well, you lose your files too.”
Although not all viruses were that evil, the Techno malware would only replace all of the words on the user’s computer screen with the word “Techno”. The MS-DOS malware is now available in Internet Archives museum and it’s a window for every computer user – old & young – to see how far have we come from the 80’s regarding technology.