On march 6, 1992, a pre-internet era virus resulted in what was arguably the an initial ever windy malware fear in history. Called after the well known renaissance painter who mutual the exact same March 6 birth date, the Michelangelo virus scare stays a significant turning suggest for computer security, 25 years after that supposed major impact.

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What is the Michelangelo Virus?

Michelangelo is classified as a boot sector virus, a type of virus the infects the startup sectors of warehouse devices—usually the boots sector the a floppy disc or the understand boot document (MBR) of a difficult disk. Boots sector viruses are mostly spread with physical media such as floppy disks or USB drives. They commonly infect computer systems that boot utilizing disks comprise the malware, activating at any time the storage machine loads.

In the instance of Michelangelo, once the virus infects a computer, it stays dormant till a details date—March 6 of every year, to it is in exact. On march 6, any type of computer infected with Michelangelo has an essential data on its boots disk overwritten, damaging the disk and also rendering that unusable and also the data practically unrecoverable.

Who wrote the Michelangelo Virus?

The writer of Michelangelo was never discovered. Given the timeframe and the absence of monetary demands, the virus was likely written for the author’s very own pleasure quite than for any kind of potential jae won gains.

What to be the impact of the Michelangelo Virus?

At the height, the Michelangelo virus gained notoriety because that its supposedly large-scale impact. Antivirus pioneer john McAfee estimated that the malware could have infected as plenty of as 5 million computers, which was a far-ranging amount in the at an early stage 90’s. The tendency media at that time choose up ~ above it and turned it into a major news story– a damaging security occurrence that could potentially wreak destruction on computers roughly the world. Needless come say, the news captured the public’s attention during a time when malware awareness was still low.

On march 6, 1992, the affect of Michelangelo differed indigenous what to be expected. Just a couple of thousand computer systems were uncovered to have actually been infected by the virus, a far cry indigenous the upper-end estimates. In fact, subsequent study made after the fear revealed that other virus variants were discovered far an ext frequently than Michelangelo.

What was the heritage of the Michelangelo Virus?


Although the virus itself had minimal genuine world affect in state of number of infections, the publicity bordering Michelangelo carried the worry of computer security into the publicly eye. Most human being at that time tho had small knowledge of computer system viruses, causing ordinary customers purchasing antivirus solutions en-masse. IBM reported the stores sold out of their antivirus products, invariably purchased by world who bought into the hype.

And while the Michelangelo virus—along through a majority of boots sector viruses—has come and also gone, it retains a special place in infosec background as the first virus to bring malware awareness into the spotlight.

As because that the Michelangelo virus itself? it still activates every march 6 for older, formerly infected computers.

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