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Top Ten Most-Destructive Computer Viruses

By: Sharon Weinberger, Smithsonian

Computer viruses have come a long way from the early days of personal computers, when teenage hackers competed for bragging rights, creating malware designed for mischief or random mayhem. Now, the hackers have gone professional, and their ambitions have grown; rather than amateurs working out of their parents' basement, malware creators are often part of an underworld criminal gang, or working directly for a foreign government or intelligence agency. As the stakes have grown, so too has the potential damage and destruction brought on by malware.