Michelangelo - An Introduction to virus protection 15 years ago
As an IT professional I've worked with PCs since 1981, after working on a large corporate project to introduce this new technology in our company. I used PCs on daily basis in supporting our corporate users for the next 10 years. Security issues and viruses were rare and unheard of by most users.
Then in 1991, the Michelangelo virus was discovered and analyzed. It was a highly destructive boot sector virus that would wipe out an entire hard drive. The destructive routine to alter the MBR was triggered on March 6th of each year (birth date of Michelangelo, the great artist).
This hidden danger was discovered because some PCs were set with an incorrect date and triggered the virus early. The technical and regular media forecast major impacts of possible (as the Wiki link notes there were even claims of over 1 million infections).
In our own company, we took precautions and purchased copies of early AV software. Our technicians then scanned PCs throughout our company and some copies were found and cleaned in advance. We only lost 1 PC that I was aware of and we came through this event fine.
Worldwide around 20,000 PCs were lost, but this was one virus was a turning point in history. A major initiative started to improve PC security started, as the dangers and costs associated with highly destructive viruses were realized from this one event.
AVERT Blogs: Michelangelo Virus turns 15
QUOTE: In 1991, in Australia, Roger Riordan from Cybec discovered a new variant of the Stoned virus. The new threat was a boot sector virus, which infected the hard disk’s master boot record and the floppy disk boot sector. When researchers discovered that the virus contained a destructive payload triggering on the 6th of March each year, it gained the name Michelangelo. (The Italian Renaissance artist was born on March 6, 1475.)
Before Michelangelo, viruses were usually discreet and confined to the antivirus-specialist world. In March 1992, however, this virus changed the way the world looked at malware. With this newcomer, viruses really came into the public eye.
Michelangelo - Virus Details