AF/91 was a hoax about a computer virus which was allegedly used in the First Gulf War; its name refers to April Fool's Day.

The original article appeared in InfoWorld magazine on April 1, 1991, in article named "Meta-Virus Set to Unleash Plague on Windows 3.0 Users" by John Gantz.[1] It was purported to be an early example of cyber warfare between 2 countries. It was an April Fools' Day prank that created a frenzy of media activity about the virus.


"Before the 1st Persian Gulf War the U.S. drew up plans to take down an Iraqi anti-aircraft system with "specially designed computer viruses [to] infect the system from within. Agents inserted the virus in a printer shipped to an Iraqi air defense site."[2][3][4]

Special Forces men were also said to have infiltrated Iraq, where they dug up a fiber-optic cable and jammed a computer virus into it. "It remained dormant until the opening moments of the air war, when it went active..." wrote the columnist. Iraq's air defense system was vanquished."[2] The story went on to say that the National Security Agency had developed the computer virus to disable Iraqi air defense computers by eating windows and that it was smuggled into Iraq through Jordan, hidden in a chip in a printer.[2]

Media stirEdit

The InfoWorld article reporting purported cyber warfare activity was picked up by other media sources such as U.S. News & World Report, Associated Press, CNN, ABC Nightline, without any confirmation.[2] The story captured the public imagination, with internet forums speculating on the effects of the virus.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Gantz, John (April 1, 1991). "Tech Street". InfoWorld. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Smith, George (March 10, 2003). "Iraqi Cyberwar: an Ageless Joke". SecurityFocus. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
  3. ^ "Email". Granite Island Group. February 12, 2003. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
  4. ^ Smith, George (March 10, 2003). "One printer, one virus, one disabled Iraqi air defence". The Register. Retrieved November 13, 2015.