Anyone that’s seen Halt And Catch Fire or Mr. Robot knows that computer culture has changed drastically over the last few decades, and with it, computer viruses have also evolved. Gone are the days of hackers developing bugs meant to provide a minor nuisance, adorned with fun visual signatures to let the user know they’ve been hacked. Today, viruses are created for much larger tasks, or at least to steal your personal information, which usually requires more secrecy.

A new article on Hopes & Fears gives a visual history of computer viruses with “payload screens,” and it’s a pretty cool look at a creative era that most people hoped they would never see on their own monitors. Among those included are the ambulance virus, which true to its name portrays a little ambulance speeding across DOS and taking with it lines of information, and the Friday the 13th virus, which would activate on said date and delete files while informing the user that “Jason lives.”


The piece points out that hacking and viruses has now turned to a big business, with attention turned to making the most money or causing the most damage possible, which is usually at the expense of never letting you know that it exists. Still, the basic premise for infection remains the same: “Whether a hacker is conning a victim into inserting a floppy disk or clicking an ad for boner pills, it’s all just about manipulating people.”

Check out the article here.