What is with these ancient machines?

Virus and Cookies

by Ray V. Hays

Did you know that the very first computer "virus" occured back when a computer took up a large room and could barely do naught but calculate? Yup. It happened when a bug flew up into one of the open sections and got caught in the moving parts. The computer had a malfunction and wouldn't run right. Took 'em a while to find the thing, but they eventually cleaned out the bug guts and the computer ran fine. However, from that point on, small problems that were easily fixed were forever refered to as a "bug in the system".

That was a litte something I remembered from when I got into a discussion about the old computer viruses and what they did. I particularly liked the Cookie Monster virus. I forget exactly how it works, but imagine if you will, coming into work one day, and you turn on your computer, which is networked to all the other computers in the building, and just as the system boots, your screen, everyone's screen starts filling with the words, "ME WANT COOKIE! ME WANT COOKIE! ME WANT COOKIE!" The basic gist of it is that it starts as a cookie piggie-back, then it starts filling up the TEMP folder, and then it starts working on the Boot driver, and the next time you turn on your computer, it just fills up all of the files as they boot with this new data. It overloads the computer, and it uses the small amount of program to put the words across your screen. With the right filters, it's easily avoided nowadays, but when it was first created, it was a major inconvenience. This thing affected networks especially.

I hope you like the history lesson about the bug.

You really liked that anecdote, didn't you? Hmm. Must've been the little jokes interspersed. Otherwise, I was afraid I was going on and on about nothing.