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The Brains Behind 'Brain,' World's First PC Virus

brain virus
The world's first PC virus, known as 'Brain,' was brought to life 25 years ago by two brothers in Pakistan. Mikko Hypponen, a researcher at F-Secure, was among the first to analyze Brain, and, after reverse engineering the virus, eventually discovered a hidden nugget of information. Buried within Brain's code was a short block of text, which revealed the phone number and address of the place where Brain was created, along with the names of its authors: Basit and Amjad Farooq.

Last month, Hypponen decided to track down the Farooq brothers and ask them about their groundbreaking work. Amazingly enough, the brothers are still working at their company, Brain Telecommuncations, which is still headquartered at the same Pakistan address listed in the virus code.

During the interview, the brothers explained how and why they created Brain, adding that they wrote the code primarily as an experiment to see how far it could spread via floppy disk. The brothers, who are now successful businessmen in Lahore, were quick to point out that Brain wasn't destructive, and explicitly distanced themselves from the more malicious viruses that have sprung up in the past quarter of a century. To the Farooqs, today's malware is rooted in pure criminality -- something they denounce, but don't feel entirely responsible for spawning. As they pointed out, if they hadn't created the world's first PC virus, someone else surely would have.

Check out the full, 10-minute documentary below.

Tags: brain, documentary, f-secure, interview, lahore, pakistan, pc, security, top, video, virus, Web