The computer virus turn 40 years old in 2011, marking the 40th anniversary of Creeper, the world’s very first computer virus. Malware numbers in the past 40 years has grown exponentially with 1990 seeing around 1300 instances, and 2010 seeing around 200 million instances.

Creeper, or the Creeper worm, was a self-replicating experimental program designed by BBNs Bob Thomas in 1971. It affected the TENEX operating system, gaining access via ARPANET, and displayed the message “I’m the creeper, catch me if you can!” in the remote system.

Since Creeper we have seen way too many computer viruses to mention. Nonetheless, despite a computer viruses ability to cause havoc and endless frustration, it has had its place in popular culture. Science Fiction novels and movies have fondly adopted the computer virus from Michael Crichton’s The Terminal Man, to the movie Eagle Eye, and even the TV show Eureka.

So despite our particular dislike for you, oh computer virus: Happy Birthday.