WannaCry and the malware hall of fame

How does WannaCry compare with other big malware infections?

The WannaCry worm has wrought havoc around the world for days but it is not the first to spread so far, so fast. The history of technology and the net has been regularly punctuated by outbreaks and infections.

The Morris worm

In 1988, just as the internet was starting to catch on, computer science student Robert T Morris was curious about just how big it had grown. He wrote a small program that travelled around, logging the servers it visited.

Bugs in his code made it scan the net very aggressively so every server ended up running multiple copies of the worm. Each copy used up a little bit of processing power so the servers gradually slowed to a halt…

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