Sunday, July 22, 2007

Remember When?

With so many links in my RSS Feed, I find that there are many sites I do not personally visit but rather read from the feed. In catching up with some reading today, rather than viewing in the reader a lengthy post on "Types of Vulnerabilities and Their Impacts" at Gonzo's Garage, I went directly to the blog. From there, I decided to take a closer look around his site than I have had time for lately. I ended up on the Remember When? page. What a perfect lead-in for this post!

Do you remember a time when if someone said they had a virus, there was no connection to computer? Although VirusList sites an earlier time in their History of Malware, the general consensus is that the first computer virus was Elk Cloner. As reported by The Register:

"Elk Cloner, which spread between Apple II computers via infected floppy disks, has the dubious distinction of the first computer virus1 to spread in the wild. The malware is thought to be the work of Rich Skrenta, a 15-year-old high school student from Pittsburgh, who released it in July 1982.

The payload of Elk Cloner was largely benign, harking back to an earlier more innocent age before today's generation of Trojans that turn compromised PCs into clients on zombie networks controlled for profit-motivated cybercrooks. Elk Cloner's payload was merely a verse or two of poetry. Mostly harmless. Although the malware did set the theme for a stream of annoying pieces of malware which popped up on the screens of Apple II, BBC Micro and, later, early PC users' screens."

I haven't checked the various hoax sites to see if all (or any) of the quotations below from Really Dumb Quotes are authentic, so I would suggest taking them with a "grain of salt". However, when considered in conjunction with the "Remember When?" page from Gonzo's Garage and the first computer virus, the quotes fall into place. Enjoy!

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."

Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons."

Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949

"But what ... is it good for?"

Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."

Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

"Who in their right mind would ever need more than 640k of ram!?"

Bill Gates, 1981

"So we went to Atari and said, 'Hey, we've got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we'll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we'll come work for you.' And they said, 'No.' So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, 'Hey, we don't need you. You haven't got through college yet.'"

Apple Computer Inc. founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get Atari and H-P interested in his and Steve Wozniak's personal computer.

By the way, do take the time to head over to Gonzo's Garage - Computers and One-Liners: Types of Vulnerabilities and Their Impacts. It is an excellent report.

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

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