The worm era really seemed to take of in the late 1990's. There was a sharp increase in the frequency and number of worms, as well as the damage they caused. A very short list of the most memorable worms includes:
- Melissa in 1999
- Code Red, Nimda and Ramen in 2001
- Slammer and Blaster in 2003.
Along with the increasing number of worms, there is a disturbing trend; reduced time between the discovery of vulnerability to the time of active propagating code. Code Red raised security community awareness in that it was able to infect more than 359,000 computers connected to the Internet in less than 14 hours. The cost of damages incurred by Code Red and its subsequent strains was estimated to be in excess of $2.6 billion! The rapid spread of Code Red led to the hypothesis of a faster spreading worm which came to be called a "Warhol Worm". A Warhol Worm would be capable of infecting all vulnerable hosts on the Internet in approximately 15 minutes to an hour. The theory stated that this would be accomplished "by using optimized scanning routines, a hitlist scanning for initial propagation, and permutation scanning for complete, self coordinated coverage.
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