Published: 19th January 2022
What happened on January 19: When the first PC virus was unleashed and some good news from Mars
In a bid to protect their medical software, two brothers developed a virus. This is how it went totally out of control
Pakistani programmer 19-year-old Basit Farooq Alvi and his brother Amjad Farooq Alvi were done with all those who indulged in piracy and at the same time, the duo, who worked in sales for a software company, were curious — just how far had this problem gone?
So, they created Brain. Not the organ made of gray matter, but a virus. It was unleashed on January 19, 1986 and it... did not wreak any havoc or anything. To be honest, it just included a text string that had their names, address and contact number. The disk name's would automatically change to '© Brain' and the most significant impact it did was affect the boot sector of a floppy disk (yes, remember those?) with a copy of the virus. It did have a real payload but did not corrupt anything. It also slowed down the floppy disk though.
In an interview with an American news magazine, the duo said that they wanted to protect the medical software they created from illegal copying. The duo started receiving several calls from users and that's how they knew it had blown up. But eventually, the brothers lost control of the virus and it spread across the world. In this way, it became the first IBM-compatible virus.
Mars has veins!
You know those vein-like rivulets water leaves sometimes while circulating within cracks, similar veins were found on Mars and were sulfate-rich! It was discovered on January 20, 2013, by NASA's Curiosity, a rover that is exploring the Red Planet. As per the pictures released, these veins are light-coloured and 0.04 to 0.2 inches wide. This proves instances of water flowing through cracks!
Pop goes the corn
It's also National Popcorn Day today! Doesn't matter if it's midweek. Just grab the popcorn, drizzle it with melted butter and salt and you are good to go. Carmel or cheese works too, though not together, obviously!
Popcorn naturally reminds one of the movies and though one cannot go to the theatre now (no prizes for guessing why), popcorn can lend a ceratin theatre-like ambiance, isn't it? Or let's just tell ourselves that!