Pikachu virus

The Pikachu virus, sometimes referred to as Poké Virus (not to be confused with Pokérus in actual Pokémon games), was a computer worm believed to be the first malware geared at children due to its incorporation of Pikachu from the Pokémon series. It was released on June 28, 2000, and arrived in the form of an email titled "Pikachu Pokemon" [sic] with the body of the e-mail containing the text "Pikachu is your friend."[1] Opening the attached executable shows users an image of Pikachu, along with a message stating: "Between millions of people around the world I found you. Don’t forget to remember this day every time MY FRIEND!"[2] The worm itself appeared in the attachment to the email as a file named "PikachuPokemon.exe".[3]

Pikachu Virus
Pokevirus.jpg
Message displayed by the virus if link is opened
Common namePoké Virus
Technical nameWin32/Pikachu
TypeEmail worm
Author(s)Unknown
Operating system(s) affectedWindows 9x
Written inVisual Basic

It was often compared to the Love Bug, though the Pikachu worm was noted to be far less dangerous and slower in its dissemination.[4]

The banned Pokémon episode "Electric Soldier Porygon" contained references to a computer virus, but did not actually show one, aside from an imaginary scenario by Ash where in an anthropomorphic germ (similar to Baikinman from Anpanman) is shown.

SpreadEdit

The worm was mainly spread through Microsoft Outlook email attachments. The email containing the attached worm-program propagated through infected users by sending itself to all contacts in the user's Outlook address book.[5] The website in the body of the email lead to a clone of the official Pokémon.com website.[6] It is possible this website downloaded a Trojan in the background if visited or was a phishing website and this may have assisted in the spread of the virus.

ExecutionEdit

When the user clicks on the attachment, PikachuPokemon.exe adds the lines "del C:\WINDOWS" and "del C:\WINDOWS\system32" to the file "autoexec.bat". These commands would be executed at the next boot, in an attempt to delete two critical directories of the Windows operating system.[7] However, users would be given a prompt asking whether or not they wanted to delete those folders, since the author did not write the added lines as “del C:\WINDOWS\*.* /y” and “del C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\*.* /y” (the /y switches would have automatically chosen the yes option).[8] This defect was the reason that the Pikachu worm did not cause more damage to computer systems.[9]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Szor, Peter (February 13, 2007). "W32.Pokey.Worm". Symantec. Retrieved 2009-10-14.
  2. ^ "Pikachu Virus Begins to Grow". 24 August 2000. Archived from the original on November 13, 2014. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  3. ^ "Pikachu: Threat Description". Virus and threat descriptions. F-Secure Corporation. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  4. ^ Staff writer (November 10, 2000). "Pikachu virus hits North America". CBC News. Archived from the original on November 2, 2013. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  5. ^ "Pokemon virus contained". BBC News. August 25, 2000. Archived from the original on April 13, 2003. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  6. ^ "Pokemon World - The Official Pokemon Site". 2000-10-18. Archived from the original on 18 October 2000. Retrieved 2022-04-22.
  7. ^ "Pikachu". Panda Security. Archived from the original on October 6, 2016. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  8. ^ Singleton, Don. "Pikachu Virus". Tulsa Computer Society. Archived from the original on February 28, 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  9. ^ Staff writer (August 24, 2000). "Pokemon turns nasty in new computer virus". Independent Online. Archived from the original on September 25, 2018. Retrieved March 3, 2012.

Further readingEdit