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AF/91 was a hoax about a computer virus which was allegedly used in the First Gulf War; its name refers to April Fool's Day.

The original article appeared in InfoWorld Magazine on April 1, 1991 in article named "Meta-Virus Set to Unleash Plague on Windows 3.0 Users" by John Gantz.[1] It was purported to be an extremely early example of cyber warfare between 2 countries. In fact it was an April Fools Joke that was misunderstood by the public and media, creating a huge frenzy of media activity about the virus.

History of Virus[edit]

"Before the 1st Gulf War the U.S. drew up plans to take down an Iraqi anti-aircraft system with "specially designed computer viruses [to] infect the system from within. Agents inserted the virus in a printer shipped to an Iraqi air defense site."[citation needed] Special Forces men were also said to have infiltrated Iraq, where they dug up a fiber-optic cable and jammed a computer virus into it. "It remained dormant until the opening moments of the air war, when it went active..." wrote the columnist. Iraq's air defense system was vanquished." [2] The story went on to say that the National Security Agency had developed the computer virus to disable Iraqi air defense computers by eating windows and that it was smuggled into Iraq through Jordan, hidden in a chip in a printer.[2]

Media Stir[edit]

After this article was written and published by InfoWorld Magazine, other major media sources such as U.S. News & World Report, Associated Press, CNN, ABC Nightline, and newspapers across the country quickly reported the supposed virus without even checking to see if the story was true.[2] When the story appeared, it captured the public imagination, with forums everywhere all over the internet imagining what the virus would look like.[citation needed]