History Of Antivirus Software

LAST UPDATED: December 11th, 2018

The history of antivirus software started in the 1980s. Most people hadn’t even heard of the Internet. And viruses made the rounds through infected floppy disks! In fact, the first real computer virus emerged in 1981 and it spread via Apple II computer diskettes.

Neutralizing the First Computer Virus

There are conflicting accounts about who invented the first antivirus software. But everyone seems to agree that it was a German man named Bernd Fix that neutralized the Vienna virus.

Fix never released any module to protect against the virus or detect and remove it. It was another man named Ross Matthew Greenberg that’s credited with that distinction.

Greenberg created an antivirus product for release in 1987. He called it FluShot Plus and sold it for $10 as Software Concepts Design.

Computer Viruses Over the Years

Some claim it was a man named Rolf Burger that invented the Vienna virus. Burger later went on to write a book that detailed Fix’s neutralization code.

Burger’s book explained how to create viruses and served as a manual for programmers. After the book’s publication, viruses started appearing using methods Burger described.

Life Before Antivirus Software

Before DSL, hackers shared infected shareware through bulletin board systems. Of course, the BBS would take the infected shareware down. But people with infected computers had to fix the problem themselves. This often meant resorting to reformatting their system.

The Brain Virus

No history of antivirus software is complete without mentioning the Brain virus. In 1987, the owners of heart-monitoring software became upset. They discovered that people were getting free, pirated versions of their software.

The owners of the company embedded a message in the pirated version of the software. This message told users the illegal download contained a virus. This compelled IBM to create the first consumer version of an antivirus software.


In 1988, an email list began to discuss how to detect and delete viruses. Dubbed VIRUS-L, this mailing list had two members that went on to become famous.

Eugene Kaspersky and John McAfee went on to found well-known antivirus software companies. McAfee started his company in 1989 and Kaspersky put out his antivirus software in 1989.

Norton Antivirus

In 1991, Symantec Corporation started selling Norton Antivirus for $130.00 a copy. They hoped to capture the corporate market with phishing protection and spam filters.

Antivirus Software Today

You no longer have to worry about being able to find a fix to computer viruses. But there are still many threats to your online privacy and safety.

Today, we have a much larger selection of antivirus software to choose from. Be sure to browse our site for recommendations on the best option for your online safety!