Timeline: The life of the email virus MyDoom

26 27 January 2004 The MyDoom virus is identified at around 8am EST before the beginning of the weekday in North America, with the earliest messages originating in Russia. It is to become the fastest growing email virus ever.

Security vendor MessageLabs says that at its peak, one in 12 emails carry the worm. This clogs networks and could also allow unauthorised access. The first version is called Mydoom.A, and is programmed to stop spreading on 12 February.

F-Secure estimates that 200,000 to 300,000 computers are hit worldwide. The SCO Group are particularly concerned, as it istold by CA that the worm is programmed to perform a Denial of Service (DoS) attack against the company between the 1st and 12th February.

The SCO group announces that it will offer a $250,000 reward for finding the perpetrator of the MyDoom virus. It is also working with law enforcement authorities.

28 January 2004 A second version of MyDoom is discovered called MyDoom.B. As well as the original attack on the SCO group, it also includes an identical attack aimed at Microsoft.

Paul Wood, a senior analyst at MessageLabs, said that part of the payload for MyDoom.B was the source code for MyDoom.A which could be used to find the original creator or creators responsible. He suggested that this was due to other criminal networks gaining access to the code and trying to incriminate the original perpetrators.

28 January 2004 The spread of MyDoom declines as bugs in MyDoom.B prevent it from spreading as rapidly as it was anticipated.

1 February 2004 The estimated millions of computers infected with MyDoom.A start the massive distributed DoS attack on the SCO Group's website. Later on, MyDoom.B attacks the Microsoft website, but there were so few copies of this version it causes Microsoft few problems.

4 February 2004 The worst is over, as home users and companies look like bringing the virus under control.

2004 - 2005 Criminals engage in a botnet' war to stake their claim as leaders in this new malware market. This increased competition sees MyDoom vying for attention as the biggest of them all.

2006 - 2009 MyDoom is not dead. Security specialists are still coming across variants of the virus today although the number of attacks is nowhere near what they were in MyDoom's 2004 heyday.

If you want to know more about the worm that turned five, click here.