Happy Final Day of National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Halloween pumpkin for cybersecurity

Boo! Something wicked this way comes, kiddies. Here in the United States, where GoCertify has its global headquarters, we're celebrating Halloween, which is some people's absolute favorite holiday on the calendar, and makes other people want to punch the whole world in the face.


Whichever camp you fall into, we have a fun holiday treat from our friends at Certification Magazine. October is also National Cyber Security Awareness Month, so in honor of the final day of that observance, the CertMag team has created a topical quiz and graciously allowed us to repost it here.


See how you do! And don't forget to click to Page 2 of this article for answers.


1) The 1989 launch of the space shuttle Atlantis was complicated by WANK, a playfully anarchic computer worm eventually traced to a handful of Australian hackers including a teenager using the handle "Mendax." What was this young rogue's actually identity?


2) What is the name of the countermeasure created to expunge Creeper, the self-replicating program that waged one of the earliest known virus attacks in 1971?


3) What entity first discovered the Stuxnet worm, allegedly created by U.S. and Israeli security forces, that targeted Iran's nuclear program in 2010?


4) What was the first IBM PC-compatible virus, deployed in January 1986?


5) What was the first known ransomware virus and when did it first appear?


6) What female tennis player was used as bait by a worm released Feb. 11, 2001?


7) What boot sector virus, named for a Renaissance painter and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, was first discovered on Feb. 4, 1991?


8) What computer virus famously arrived via e-mail with a message proclaiming, "Here is that document you asked for, don't show it to anybody else"?


9) Though its name may cause many to think of a Sith lord from Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, this malware was actually named for a file prefix it assigns. What is it?


10) What hacker notoriously proved his digital bona fides by cracking the U.S. Department of Defense computer network in less than one minute?




"Mendax" helped delay the launch of the space shuttle Atlantis in 1989.

1) Mendax was an early alias of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.


2) The program created to remove Creeper was called Reaper. Set a Reaper to catch a Creeper.


3) Stuxnet was first identified and reported by the Belarusian cybersecurity firm VirusBlokADA in June 2010.


4) Brain, a boot sector virus also called Lahore, Pakistani, and Pakistani flu, was the first virus designed to attack the popular IBM PC.


5) The AIDS Trojan, which requested $189 (sent to a P.O. box in Panama) in exchange for a decryption program, appeared in December 1989. It was hidden on disks mailed to subscribers of PC Business World magazine.


6) The aptly-named Anna Kournikova virus, created by Dutch programmer Jan de Wit and propagated via e-mail, promised recipients a sexy picture of popular tennis professional Kournikova.


7) The Michelangelo virus, a bug of unknown origin, gained fame when security researcher John McAfee predicted that it might potentially infect as many as 5 million computers. Michelangelo stays dormant on an infected PC until activating on March 6, birthday of the famed creator of the statue of Old Testament hero David, as well as the biblical fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.


8) That suggestively tempting invitation was the calling card of the Melissa virus, which first appeared in 1999. Creator David L. Smith said that he named Melissa after an exotic dancer from Florida.


9) The "Duqu" malware, first identified Sept. 1, 2011, is named for the prefix "~DQ."


10) That legendary feat of cyber-daring was accomplished by (completely fictitious) hacker Stanley Jobson, played by Hugh Jackman in the 2001 movie Swordfish.

Would you like more insight into the history of hacking? Check out Calvin's other articles about historical hackery:
About the Author

GoCertify's mission is to help both students and working professionals get IT certifications. GoCertify was founded in 1998 by Anne Martinez.