The World’s Worst Computer Viruses Illustrated


Writer and curator Bas van de Poel’s Computer Virus Catalog, which we learned about on Dangerous Minds, interprets the worst viruses in computer history as glitchy, MS-DOS-esque artworks. “They steal our files, corrupt our hard drives and destroy our lives. We scan. We block. Do everything we can to prevent infection. Computer viruses. We hate ’em. Nevertheless, we remain fascinated by their evil plots,” the project website reads. Personifying pesky computer viruses as mustache-twirling villains is indeed entertaining. Here are ten vastly different interpretations of computer viruses, complete with narratives about their schemes.

Implant by Karborn

DOS virus Implant displays a high res photo of a blonde bombshell wearing nothing but lingerie. The quality of the image is remarkable since DOS runs video in text mode. After rebooting your computer you will notice the babe erased your entire hard drive_

Lichen by Jonathan Zawada

Lichen infects .COM and .EXE files and activates one month later. Whenever there’s no keyboard activity for longer than a minute, the DOS virus produces lichen inspired visuals best described as kryptonite on crack_

LSD by Clay Hickson

The LSD virus is far out… This DOS virus overwrites all the files in the current directory and then displays a druggy video effect. Next it shows a message from your local dealer: ‘LSD ViRuS 1.0 Coded By Death Dealer 4/29/94 [TeMpEsT -94]’_

Skulls by Anthony Burrill

Skulls targets Nokia phones running Symbian OS. After infection, the trojan replaces all app icons with scalps and tries to drain the battery. Skulls spreads itself by texting malicious links to all contacts, including ex-girlfriends and your evil boss. This results in sky-high phone bills and occasionally sweet revenge_

Beda by Sam Coldy

Beda is a DOS memory virus infecting .COM files. After being resident in the memory for a while, it activates when an infected program is executed. The virus will then produce a display of trippy RGB color beams moving quickly up and down, leaving office monkeys in awe_

Sircam by Alyar Aynetchi

Sircam, aka ‘How Are You’, is a Windows based email worm. Sircam randomly infects .DOC and .XLS files and emails these to your Outlook contacts. During the outbreak many personal files, including unsent love letters, ransom notes and hit lists, were sent to those who shouldn’t have received them_

Marburg by HORT

Marburg infects .EXE and .SCR files and draws the all too familiar critical error icon everywhere on your screen. The Windows virus spread like crazy in August ’98, when it was included on the master CD of popular MGM/EA game ‘Wargames’_

Techno by Joost & Nick

DOS virus Techno infects .COM files. The virus activates randomly one out of ten times and uses the CPU audio device to play a fist pumping techno track. Meanwhile, the word ‘TECHNO’ covers the entire screen_

Anna Kournikova by Sarah Mazzetti

Besides being a tennis super star / part time bikini model, Anna Kournikova is also a very effective Windows worm. The worm is designed to trick users into opening an email purportedly containing a picture of the celeb. Instead, it plunders your inbox and sends itself to your entire Outlook contact list_

Happy99 by Joshua Checkley

Happy99 is the first modern worm, spreading via email attachments and newsgroups. When executed, the worm shows animated fireworks, wishes you a ‘Happy New Year!’ and modifies a bunch of system files in the background. Nothing serious compared with New Year’s hangover_