The theory and the firsts
John Von Neumann discussed the possibility of a self replicating program back in the 1940’s and published a paper on the same in 1966. The paper explored the idea of a mechanical organism being able to replicate itself and damage machines, much like a living organism. Creeper, often regarded as the first virus, was a test program created by Bob Thomas of BBN. While it did not have any malicious intent, it set the precedent for more such viruses to come. In 1974, the Rabbit virus was developed and released. It made multiple copies of itself on any machine it reached and significantly slowed down system performance. The first reported Trojan, ANIMAL, was created in 1975 by John Walker. The first PC virus Brain began infecting 5.2” floppy disks in 1986. Although it had no malicious intent, it was the first stealth virus placed on the boot sector of floppy disks.