The Computer Virus Catalog Is A Bizarre Illustrated Guide To The Deadliest Viruses In History

Karyne Levy

Some computer viruses wreck your computer from behind the scenes. You only know they're there because your computer starts acting weird or your files get wiped out.

And sometimes you can tell you have a virus just by looking. A weird image appears on the screen. Or music starts playing for no reason.

The Computer Virus Catalog is a compilation of some of the deadliest computer viruses in history. 

The catalog is the brainchild of curator Bas van de Poel, a Dutch designer who's worked on advertising campaigns for Converse and Lego, among others. 

"It's a personal art project that arose from my fascination for computer viruses," he told Business Insider in an email. "I've always been interested in the dark side of computing. I specifically wanted to do something with computer viruses when I found out that the Melissa virus is named after the author’s favorite exotic dancer."

Van de Poel says he got in touch with artists whose works he likes, and asked them to make illustrations for him. "The viruses were selected based on their back stories and in some cases the visual effects they produce," he says. 

Each picture is accompanied by a paragraph explaining what the virus does to your computer.  

The Cookie Monster virus might be the world's first computer virus; it was created in the 1960s by MIT students to annoy their fellow classmates. The virus freezes everything on the computer, and flashes the word "cookie" on the screen. To get rid of it, the infected user would have to type the word "cookie."

The Melissa virus is named after the virus author's favorite exotic dancer. It's a worm that infects Word documents and spreads through email as an attachment. If an attachment containing the virus is opened, it replicates and sends itself out to people in the infected user's email address book.

The Selectronic virus is trippy. It infects .COM files. On Friday the 13th, the infected computer displays the text "Countdown to extinction ...," plays a song, and an animation of the Grim Reaper goes across the screen.

The Nople virus is a worm that spreads over local and shared networks. When it's activated, it displays an animation and the text "¡Es hora de formatear tu disco!" That means "It is the hour to format your disc!"

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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