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November 6, 1988

VIRUS IN THE ARPANET

By CBR Staff Writer

Giant mainframes on the superb Arpanet packet switched network that links university and research institution computer systems around the world started dropping offline like flies as systems managers tried desperately to isolate and exterminate a virus inserted by a Massachusetts student as an experiment, which started reproducing itself at an alarming rate and monopolised the power of the machines: the virus, designed to gain ingress through DEC VAXes and Sun Microsystems workstations under Unix, was designed to steal passwords, masquerade as a user and replicate itself on the next machine on the network – once, but a programming error in the virus meant that on one in 10 machines it replicated itself not once but over and over.

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