12 Most Destructive Computer Viruses in History!

It’s no wonder people are constantly on the lookout for new computer viruses; just think about it: every day, new ways exist to access and steal your data. today I am going to describe the twelve most destructive computer viruses that existed in history.

Most Destructive Computer Viruses in History

From the WannaCry ransomware to the NotPetya virus, these viruses have wreaked havoc on unsuspecting users worldwide. By understanding what these viruses are and how they work, you can keep yourself and your data safe from harm. Read on to learn more!

Computer Viruses and Their Categories

Before we get into the list of the most destructive viruses ever created, let’s first learn a little bit about computer viruses and their categories; Computer viruses are computer programs that can corrupt or damage data on your computer.

They can be categorized into two main groups, destructive and benign; Destructive viruses are designed to disable or destroy a computer, while benign viruses cause harmless errors or problems.

most destructive viruses list

12 Most Destructive Computer Viruses

Now that we know about the two main categories of viruses, let’s get started with the top 12 most dangerous viruses ever unleashed on computers.

The Mydoom Virus

The Mydoom Virus was a highly destructive computer virus that caused significant financial losses for companies worldwide. It was first detected in May 2008 and rapidly spread; resulting in widespread damage to many organizations and their customers.

The virus was capable of infecting computers and disrupting the normal functioning of businesses; resulting in significant disruptions and financial losses. As one of the major destructive viruses; it highlighted the need for effective cybersecurity measures to protect against such threats.

It worked by exploiting a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows OS – through which it could easily spread itself via emails and instant messages. The virus could travel through other computers on a singular network as well.

The financial impact of the Mydoom virus was significant; estimations placed the cost of damage at $200 million by early 2009. In addition, many businesses were forced to halt operations for days or weeks due to the virus.

Mydoom virus is one example of a cyber-attack that has seriously affected organizations and customers. By understanding the effects of this attack; companies can better prepare themselves for future cyber-attacks and protect themselves from financial losses.

The Sobig Worm

Sobig was one of the most financially destructive computer viruses in history. It has caused $37.1 Billion in damages. It was first discovered in 1996 and has since been responsible for numerous computer and business attacks. The virus spreads through email attachments and can be fatal if left untreated.

Once attached, Sobig spreads through the computer network, propagating itself to other computers. Sobig can damage or even destroy your computer and lead to the theft of confidential information. If you have been affected by Sobig; please do not hesitate to contact a qualified computer repair specialist for help.

This virus mainly targets Microsoft Windows systems but has also been known to attack other operating systems. Sobig is destructive because it uses a sophisticated exploit code to evade many antivirus programs.

Fortunately, Sobig is no longer prevalent, and there are currently few known outbreaks. Nevertheless, experts recommend keeping users up-to-date with their antivirus software to protect themselves from this and other potentially destructive viruses.

The Klez worm

The Klez worm is a virus that encrypts files on the infected computer, making them inaccessible to the user. To spread the infection, Klez worm uses spam emails with attached executables; Once installed, the virus will start encrypting files on the computer and spreading through email.

According to the reports, 7 million computers were infected with the Klez worm, making estimated damages of nearly $20 billion. Due to this, this virus is in the checklists of many antivirus software and Windows Defender.


The ILOVEYOU virus is a famous computer virus that was released in 2000; It caused billions of dollars in damage and is still considered one of the most destructive computer viruses.

The ILOVEYOU virus spreads through email and works by attaching a copy of the virus to an email you send to someone else. When the recipient opens the email; the virus will automatically start replicating inside their computer.

Because of this, the ILOVEYOU virus is particularly destructive; It can cause legitimate files to be deleted, crash systems, and can even lead to financial loss if your online business depends on electronic payments.

The Nimda Worm

Nimda Worm is another infamous computer virus that was released in 2004. Like the ILOVEYOU virus, it caused millions of dollars worth of damage across the globe and remains one of the most destructive viruses ever created.

The Nimda Worm spreads through email attachments and works by hijacking your computer until it enters a “zombie” mode, where it continues to spread the virus without your permission or knowledge. In zombie mode, your computer becomes a dedicated machine to spreading Nimda Worm across the internet.

This ensures that once Nimda Worm infects a device or computer, it will continue spreading without pause for as long as it is.

virus infected computer screen

The Zeus Worm

The Zeus worm is a computer virus that was first released in 1988; It is considered one of the most destructive computer viruses ever created and has caused massive damage worldwide. The Zeus worm infected over 50 million computers and caused $3 Billion in damages.

The Zeus worm targets networks by sending out thousands of copies of itself disguised as messages from legitimate sources, such as system administrators or software vendors. Once it has infected a computer, the virus can quickly spread across the network and wreak havoc.

Zeus is a destructive virus because it exploits vulnerabilities in Windows machines that are not typically patched; Once installed on a machine, the virus can remain active and undetected for years, potentially damaging or destroying valuable data.

Since its release, Zeus has been superseded by more sophisticated viruses such as Stuxnet and WannaCry; it remains one of the most notorious offenders in computer history.

The Sasser Worm

The Sasser Worm was a computer virus that caused widespread damage in 2004; The virus spread by exploiting a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows systems. It was first detected on April 30, 2004, and caused extensive damage globally; especially in the United States. The worm affected 400,000 computers and caused an estimated $2 billion in damages

The virus exploited a security flaw in Microsoft Windows that allowed it to bypass security measures and enter system files. Once inside these files; it could execute malicious code and propagate further on the network.

Thankfully, there have not been any major outbreaks of this virus since its release. However, it is still one of the most deadly computer viruses out there – so if you face an infected system, please be sure to take action quickly!

The CodeRed Virus

This virus’s code is encrypted, making it difficult for antivirus software to detect; This makes it particularly tempting for cybercriminals, who can use the virus to spread malware to other computers on a network. Code Red is one of the most commonly used viruses responsible for several organization attacks.

The CodeRed virus is one of the most destructive computer viruses in history; The virus was first released in September 2001 and caused millions of dollars in damage. CodeRed was particularly destructive because it exploited a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows 2000 that had not been patched.

It spread quickly across networks and infected over 100,000 systems before it was detected and blocked; The virus caused widespread disorder, costing businesses millions of dollars in lost earnings and disrupting computer operations.

CodeRed is also responsible for one of the largest cyber-attacks ever recorded. In July 2008, it hijacked computers belonging to government agencies worldwide; causing $52 million in losses.

hacker trying phishing

The Conficker Virus

The Conficker virus is a virus that was first released in late 2008; It is a worm that spreads through email, contacts, or sharing files over the internet. This virus has infected millions of systems, including government agencies and large multinational companies.

The Conficker virus targets Microsoft Windows systems and can disable your antivirus software, corrupt your files, and even launch attacks on other computers on the network; It is highly distressing because it can quickly spread through networks and be problematic to remove.

If you are worried that you may have been infected with the Conficker virus, please take action to protect yourself. Firstly, ensure that your computer is up-to-date with the latest security patches; Secondly, be careful about what files you share online and ensure you do not open email attachments from unknown sources.

The WannaCry Ransomware

The WannaCry ransomware is one of the most destructive computer viruses ever; This virus encrypts files on infected computers, requiring victims to pay a ransom to release their data. Since its release on May 12, 2017, WannaCry has caused widespread damage and disrupted global businesses.

WannaCry is a complex and sophisticated virus that spreads through infected email messages and infects vulnerable computers through flaws in older versions of Microsoft Windows. As of June 14 2017, the virus has affected over 150 countries and more than 200,000 systems resulting in damage worth more than billions of dollars.

Petya/NotPetya Ransomware

When it comes to the most destructive computer viruses, there is no doubt that Petya/NotPetya ranks very high on that list. This family of ransomware is a destructive virus because once this virus destroys and encrypts the data of a computer, it then cannot be reversed. The logic used to encrypt files in this ransomware was inspired by the WannaCry ransomware.

This ransomware virus was first discovered in March 2016 and has caused massive worldwide damage; In fact, according to researchers at Kaspersky Labs, Petya/NotPetya has already impacted over 100 countries and is currently estimated to have cost businesses over $5 billion.

Stuxnet Malware

Stuxnet is the most destructive virus to ever target electronic systems; The virus infiltrated computers in Iran and damaged or destroyed nearly 1,000 centrifuges used to produce uranium for nuclear weapons. The attack has been called “the blackest day in cyber security” and is thought to be the work of a U.S. intelligence agency

In early 2010, a computer virus known as Stuxnet was discovered; This virus was designed to destroy industrial control systems (ICS). ICS are critical components of many industrial plants and can control many aspects of the plant’s operation.

This virus spreads quickly through removable media such as thumb drives and floppy disks. Once it infected an ICS, it could spread through the network to other machines; Stuxnet is considered one of the most successful computer viruses ever created.

Stuxnet was specifically designed to attack Siemens equipment. Experts believe that it could have caused major economic losses; had it not been discovered and stopped before it caused any more damage.


1. How do computer viruses work?

The virus can infect their computer when a user downloads and opens a malicious file; Then, the virus starts to harvest data from the user’s computer. The virus can steal personal information, like bank account numbers or social security numbers, or damage or disable the user’s computer.

2. What are some of the most famous computer viruses?

The most famous computer viruses are the Stuxnet virus and Mydoom.

3. How can I stay safe from computer viruses?

Some simple precautions to stay safe from computer viruses start using a firewall, keeping up to date with your software, being careful about what kind of files you download and install, and using an antivirus program.

4. Is it possible to delete a computer virus?

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Some viruses are difficult to delete; while others can be completely eradicated with simple steps. Utilizing a virus removal tool may help speed up the process.


Computer viruses are a growing and serious problem, and we must know how they can wreak havoc on our systems. In this article, I’ve outlined 12 of the most destructive computer viruses to ever hit the world; and I hope that by reading about them, you will be better prepared should one of these viruses make its way onto your computer. Be sure to keep your software up-to-date and use proper security measures to protect yourself from the dangers of computer viruses.

Hey, but reading about cybersecurity makes you only 50 percent safe; taking action toward secure internet access ensures you are safe from hackers and viruses. Most malware and viruses are transferred via phishing; Read our guide on what is phishing and learn how to keep yourself safe from hackers and viruses.

About Rohit Jambhulkar

Rohit Jambhulkar has been a journalist with the Privacypapa team since 2022, covering the latest advancements in cybersecurity and digital privacy. With his extensive industry experience, he has created rigorous VPN testing procedures and protocols for our VPN review section, as well as thoroughly evaluated numerous VPN services.

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