Creeper (program)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Creeper virus)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Author(s)Bob Thomas
Operating system(s) affectedTENEX

Creeper was an experimental computer program written by Bob Thomas at BBN in 1971.[2] Its original iteration was designed to move between DEC PDP-10 mainframe computers running the TENEX operating system using the ARPANET, with a later version by Ray Tomlinson designed to copy itself between computers rather than simply move.[3] This self-replicating version of Creeper is generally accepted to be the first computer worm.[1][4]

The program was not actively malicious software as it caused no damage to data, the only effect being a message it output to the teletype reading "I'm the creeper: catch me if you can".[4]


Original author(s)Ray Tomlinson
Initial release1972
Operating systemTENEX

Reaper (program) was a similar program created by Ray Tomlinson to move across the ARPANET and delete the self-replicating Creeper.[3]

Cultural impacts[edit]

The conflict between Creeper and Reaper served as inspiration for the programming game Core War,[3] while fictionalized versions of Reaper have been used as antagonists in the anime Digimon Tamers and the visual novel Digital: A Love Story.


  1. ^ a b IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, Volumes 27-28. IEEE Computer Society, 2005. 74. Retrieved from Google Books on 13 May 2011. "[...]from one machine to another led to experimentation with the Creeper program, which became the world's first computer worm: a computation that used the network to recreate itself on another node, and spread from node to node. The source code of creeper remains unknown."
  2. ^ Thomas Chen, Jean-Marc Robert (2004). "The Evolution of Viruses and Worms" (PDF). Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  3. ^ a b c John Metcalf (2014). "Core War: Creeper & Reaper". Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  4. ^ a b From the first email to the first YouTube video: a definitive internet history. Tom Meltzer and Sarah Phillips. The Guardian. 23 October 2009