In Pictures: 20 notorious worms, viruses and botnets

The earliest worms and viruses were created for geeky fun and did little harm - oh, how times have changed. Here are 20 worms, viruses and botnets that show the evolution of malware, from Creeper to Flame.

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Melissa

The Melissa virus, found in 1999, propagated via infected Microsoft Word documents and mailed itself to Outlook contacts of the contaminated user, explains Lovet. It was virulent enough to paralyze some important mailing systems on the Internet.

Its author created the bug to honor Melissa, a stripper he’d met in Florida.

"Whether he conquered her heart this way is somewhat unlikely, but one thing is sure: the malicious code earned him 20 months in jail and a $5,000 fine," says Lovet.

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In Pictures: 20 notorious worms, viruses and botnets

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