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Computer Viruses (or Dokken Hates Chicken…)

Posted by Big Boo on September 11th, 2009

flu virusOne thing to come out of the 1980’s which I really wish hadn’t was the computer virus. These nasty little pieces of code can ruin your hard disc (not to mention your day) should you be unfortunate enough to have your computer become infected.

Put simply, a computer virus is a program whose main aim (just like a real virus) is to spread itself to as many computers as possible. There are various methods in which this can happen, and the different methods are given names to describe them. For example, a Trojan virus takes its name from the famous Greek Trojan Horse story, making its way onto your computer by seeming to be a perfectly normal file, but when opened it unleashes a nasty surprise!

The first virus I ever encountered was the SCA virus on the Commodore Amiga. This was called a bootblock virus, because it wrote itself to the part of the disc which allows it to load up automatically when the disc is inserted. Bootblock viruses are rare these days simply because we no longer really use floppy discs, but in the early Amiga days hard drives were rare, so you had many hundreds of floppy discs.

The SCA virus was really just a bit of fun to start with, displaying the humourous message “Something wonderful has happened! Your computer is alive!”, but it became a lot less fun if it ended up getting onto one of your game discs, as chances are it would stop that disc working entirely.

Today there are more than 100,000 virus variations on the PC, so it has become standard practice to make sure you’re running a virus checking program of some kind, and one of the more popular solutions is the Norton AntiVirus package. I mention this particular package simply because the good people at Norton contacted me recently to let me know about their latest online video advert, which you can see below. And no, I haven’t gone mad, it is actually eighties related! It features eighties heavy metal band Dokken (who I must admit I’d never heard of, but they did provide a song called Dream Warriors for A Nightmare on Elm Street 3).

A rather more tenuous link is that the advert appears to have been filmed in a hangar which looks a lot like the SSC (Knight Industries base of operations) from the new Knight Rider series.