The ILOVEYOU virus was particularly effective for two reasons: It was sent from "safe" senders (those already in the recipient's address book), and the file resembled a text file. As a result, the virus managed to reach an estimated 50 million computers (only Windows computers were affected) and cause an estimated $5.5 billion in damages--the Pentagon, the CIA, and the British Parliament all had to shut down their e-mail systems.
Just a day after the virus started spreading, police in the Philippines arrested two computer programming students. Unfortunately, the authorities were unable to convict the two of any crime, as there was no law, at the time, against writing malicious code.
7. Technology Crashes Planes
Predicted outcome: Planes falling out of the sky
Actual outcome: Lies
That's right, the TSA will take away your bottled water and your nail file, but they'll let you keep your smartphone--despite the fact that the in-flight crew will warn all passengers to turn off their cell phones for the duration of the flight or face dire consequences.
There has never been any documented case of a cell phone causing interference with a plane's navigation system. Obviously--do you really think that they'd let everybody waltz onto a 500-ton metal aircraft with a potential bomb in their pocket? That would certainly make terrorists' jobs a lot easier.
8. Witty Worm
Predicted outcome: Not applicable
Actual outcome: First worm to carry a destructive payload; infected 12,000 machines
The Witty worm, first detected in 2004, was an important, scary computer virus for a number of reasons--namely, it was the first worm to carry a malicious "payload" that slowly destroyed the host computers it infected.