Memories of the Michelangelo virus

On Tuesday March 6th 2012, it will have been precisely twenty years since the world held its breath, waiting to see if its computers would boot up.

Because March 6th 1992 was day zero for the Great Michelangelo Virus Scare, the first and probably one of the biggest computer virus scares that the world has ever seen.

For days, the world’s media had been predicting a digital disaster on March 6th. Anti-virus luminary John McAfee was even being quoted saying that up to five million PCs around the world could be wiped out by the Michelangelo virus.

Just another boot sector virus

The Michelangelo virus was first discovered in February 1991 by Australian veteran anti-virus expert Roger Riordan. Riordan, the brains behind VET, a popular anti-virus program down under, probably didn’t think that the virus was particularly special.

Michelangelo was a variant of the Stoned boot sector virus, and there was certainly nothing unusual in the way that it spread that…

Read more in my article on the Naked Security website.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the cybersecurity industry, having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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