In computer programming the term “virus” is a bit of code that can be attached to other programs or files. They remain hidden until activated, and can do anything from corrupting data, to sending emails that clog up inboxes, to completely erasing hard drives. Computer viruses are classified into four phases (inspired by biologists classified by real-life virus’s life cycle).

The majority of people do not create viruses with the intention of destruction, however. There are several reasons. One is bragging rights, similar to an elementary school kid who folds an airplane out of paper in a creative and imaginative way to determine how far it will travel before it crashes. Some people are driven by the same psychological motivations as arsonists or vandals – they feel a sense of satisfaction from destruction of property owned by others. A powerful computer virus is like Mount Everest to some programmers, and they are driven to explore the lengths they can take the virus without being recognized.

Certain viruses employ polymorphic codes that alters slightly each time they infect a computer or program. This makes it more difficult for anti-virus companies to locate and eliminate all copies of the virus from a system. Other viruses depend on the use of a “trigger” to be activated and begin spreading, like an action taken by the user or a timed countdown (to conceal the source of the virus).

If you make a virus, trojan, worm or malware or any other malicious program for revenge, payback, pranks, or any other reason, it isn’t going to fix anything and will likely result in prosecution by the law. Look at other options which are more fun and safer than creating malware that is malicious and could cause severe damage or even wipe your entire hard drive.