Today is an important day in my life : this is something that I wanted to share to the world since, at least, 15 years!
Yes, I have a photo of the infamous Brain Virus!
“Brain […] is, (in its first incarnation written in January 1986) considered to be the first computer virus for the PC. It infects the boot sector of storage media formatted with the DOS File Allocation Table (FAT) file system. […] Brain was written by two brothers, Basit and Amjad Farooq Alvi, who lived in Chahmiran, Lahore, Pakistan. The brothers told TIME magazine they had written it to protect their medical software from piracy and was supposed to target copyright infringers only.”
This photo must be from around 1989 (when I was 15-16) and, if you look properly, you’ll notice lots of cool little details:
- The two brothers put their coordinates in the virus. I wonder if the phone numbers still work? By the way, Basit and Amjad are now in the ISP business.
- The photo shows an hexadecimal view of the boot sector of an infected floppy 5 1/4″ disk (Path=A:) because home computers rarely had hard disks at that time (and the capacity of the floppy was a massive 360 kilobytes – yes, 0.36 megabytes)
- I used PC Tools Deluxe 4.22 to view the boot sector. PC Tools was an extremely versatile tool. I used it to do my normal daily file manipulation routines (copying, renaming, deleting). It also featured lots of low-level functions like displaying the boot sector of a disk. It was cool but, unfortunately, I could not find one single interesting site on the whole Internet on it.
- I took that photo from the monitor of my PC (a Sanyo PC-compatible which cost us around Rs. 55,000) at that time. It featured an extremely powerful Intel 8088 processor running at a breathtaking 8 MHz (compared to the 2000-3000 MHz we now have). The PC had 640 kilobytes of RAM which was good enough for that era (640kb is less than one megabyte!)
- The graphics card was a Color Graphics Adapter which could display (hold your breath) 4 colours at 320×200 (and, still, the games were intensely playable) and had a monochrome mode at 640×200. It also could display text at 40×25 or 80×25.
I wonder how many of you knew hexadecimal when you were 15-16?