Tech History

January 30, 1982

First Computer Virus Written

Richard Skrenta writes the first PC virus code, which is 400 lines long and disguised as an Apple II boot program called “Elk Cloner“.

The poem that Elk Cloner would display was as follows:

Elk Cloner: The program with a personality

It will get on all your disks
It will infiltrate your chips
Yes, it’s Cloner!

It will stick to you like glue
It will modify RAM too

Send in the Cloner!

Elk Cloner is one of the first known microcomputer viruses that spread “in the wild”, i.e., outside the computer system or laboratory in which it was written.It attached itself to the Apple II operating system and spread by floppy disk. It was written around 1982 by programmer and entrepreneur Rich Skrenta as a 15-year-old high school student, originally as a joke, and put onto a game disk.

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