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'Don't turn on the computer on March 6': all about the phenomenon that scared millions in the 90s


At one point it was believed that there would be a cybernetic apocalypse. Because?

"The world held its breath... and nervously turned on its computers...", could be read in a well-known American newspaper in March 1992. On the 6th of that month and of that year, the cybernetic Apocalypse should have happened at the hands of of

the Michelangelo virus

, however -almost- nothing happened...

At the beginning of 1991, the mastermind behind the VET antivirus, the Australian

Roger Riordan

, discovered the computer virus that months later would be known by the name of the famous Renaissance artist.

Many experts suggest that he was born in Scandinavia.

Many others that she was in Australia.

Strangely, no one knows who created it.

Michelangelo's origin is sinister: he would have been for fun.

The Michelangelo virus was the first computer virus of international significance.

Riordan caught Michelangelo thanks to an error


He left a diskette “infected” with the virus in his computer overnight.

When he turned on the equipment, a series of strange noises made him realize that something was wrong.

The discovery of the Australian served to find one of the two great weak points of the virus: its environment.

That Riordan "caught" him by a floppy disk error confirmed that the Michelangelo virus "infected" from floppy disks.

Over time, researchers determined that the virus had been designed to infect DOS systems, especially the main boot record on hard drives and floppy disks.

It was a variant of the Stoned sector virus, one of the first computer viruses in history.

The virus was activated on March 6.


the Michelangelo rendered a computer useless if it was turned on on March 6


Hence, from Michelangelo's birthday, the striking name of her.

When the PC was turned on, the virus replaced the boot drives with junk instructions, making it virtually impossible to recover system information.

The chaotic Michelangelo

The virus caught specialists off guard.

The virtual era that we control today was just beginning.

Nobody was prepared for millions of computers around the world to fall into the hands of a joke like Michelangelo.

"We couldn't believe it, we had never seen this kind of virus before," a computer specialist told Reuters at the time.

The Michelangelo fwas one of the first to reach local TV.

Many antivirus vendors, including McAfee, offered solutions, but weren't very focused.

"Panic computer users throughout the Washington area are scrambling to protect their machines before a highly destructive computer 'virus' known as Michelangelo strikes tomorrow," the Washington Post reported on March 5, 1992.

Nobody knew what would happen the next day, the fateful 6th.

If Michelangelo attacked, millions of users risked losing the information on their computers


But the virus did not wait for the 6th. It arrived in Japan earlier.

In the island country they had forgotten to change the dates of the PCs.

Consequences: thousands of dollars in losses.

The second weak point of the virus was exposed that day:

if you didn't turn on the computer on March 6, nothing happened


They said that the Michelangelo would affect more than 5 million computers.

Other than some minor damage and some ruined equipment,

Michelangelo caused virtually no serious damage


Months later they launched an antivirus against the Michelangelo and it was known that on March 6 it was certainly dangerous to turn on the computer if it had been infected by the virus.

Color fact: the Los Angeles Times on March 6 noted complications in Bariloche due to the virus.

The DYN news agency had reported that in that city in Argentina there were computers that had lost everything.

look also

Osde, victim of a cyberattack: the site was down for several hours over the weekend

Hack to OSDE: they upload stolen files with medical records and information of affiliates, politicians and celebrities

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-02-04

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