Michelangelo Virus – 30th Anniversary Of Discovery

Thursday 4th February 2021 marks 30 years since the Michelangelo computer virus was discovered. It was a significant event in cybersecurity history because no virus before it had prompted the public to think about security like Michelangelo did.

Michelangelo was a variant of a ‘boot sector’ virus, malware that modified the bootup process of computers at that time. It spread via floppy disk and was aptly named Michelangelo because the virus lay dormant on infected machines until March 6th, 1992, which happened to be the famous painter Michelangelo’s birthday when it could damage systems and data.

Experts Comments

February 04, 2021
Greg Day
VP & CSO, EMEA
Palo Alto Networks

I started work at Dr Solomon's in 1991, back in the early to mid-1990s when repairing boot sector viruses was a manual task. We would have to get companies to use the specially provided tool “Inspect Disk” remotely as we walked them through how to fix their computers. This involved literally finding the original boot sector and copying and pasting it back over the changes made by viruses such as Michelangelo.  Sector 0,0,7 was where this virus moved it to, I can still just remember! It was

.....Read More

I started work at Dr Solomon's in 1991, back in the early to mid-1990s when repairing boot sector viruses was a manual task. We would have to get companies to use the specially provided tool “Inspect Disk” remotely as we walked them through how to fix their computers. This involved literally finding the original boot sector and copying and pasting it back over the changes made by viruses such as Michelangelo.  Sector 0,0,7 was where this virus moved it to, I can still just remember! It was hit and miss; one false step could render the computer dead so that it would simply no longer boot up again. However, in most instances, we could get users back up and running.

We used to ship updates on physical discs every three months, it really was a different time. The common motive was far more about proving skill or highlighting safety gaps rather than today’s cybercriminals that are revenue-driven. Nowadays, cybercrime is a lucrative business. As cybercriminals become increasingly sophisticated, so too must security.

30 years on, organisations now have far bigger attack surfaces to secure. To stay on the front foot, security leaders need to invest in technology platforms that make protecting the whole enterprise simpler. They need to have visibility into the whole enterprise environment and have security solutions that are easy to deploy and manage. They also need to leverage automation to maximise efficiency and free up employees to focus on the most complex and serious threats.

  Read Less
February 04, 2021
Greg Day
VP & CSO, EMEA
Palo Alto Networks

I started work at Dr Solomon's in 1991, back in the early to mid-1990s when repairing boot sector viruses was a manual task. We would have to get companies to use specially provided tool “Inspect Disk” remotely as we walked them through how to fix their computers. This involved literally finding the original boot sector and copying and pasting it back over the changes made by viruses such as Michelangelo.  Sector 0,0,7 was where this virus moved it to, I can still just remember! It was

.....Read More

I started work at Dr Solomon's in 1991, back in the early to mid-1990s when repairing boot sector viruses was a manual task. We would have to get companies to use specially provided tool “Inspect Disk” remotely as we walked them through how to fix their computers. This involved literally finding the original boot sector and copying and pasting it back over the changes made by viruses such as Michelangelo.  Sector 0,0,7 was where this virus moved it to, I can still just remember! It was hit and miss; one false step could render the computer dead, so that it would simply no longer boot up again. However, in most instances, we could get users back up and running.

We used to ship updates on physical discs every three months, it really was a different time. The common motive was far more about proving skill or highlighting safety gaps rather than today’s cybercriminals that are revenue driven. Nowadays, cybercrime is a lucrative business. As cybercriminals become increasingly sophisticated, so too must security.

30 years on, organisations now have far bigger attack surfaces to secure. To stay on the front foot, security leaders need to invest in technology platforms that make protecting the whole enterprise simpler. They need to have visibility into the whole enterprise environment and have security solutions that are easy to deploy and manage. They also need to leverage automation to maximise efficiency and free up employees to focus on the most complex and serious threats.

Greg Day, VP and Chief Security Officer EMEA at Palo Alto Networks

  Read Less
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