Reaper was the first anti-virus software. It was created by Ray Tomlinson to move across the ARPANET and delete the transmitting Creeper program. Creeper had been an experimental computer program originally written by Bob Thomas at BBN in 1971. Its original iteration was designed to move between DEC PDP-10 mainframe computers running the TENEX operating system using the ARPANET. A later version by Ray Tomlinson designed to copy itself between computers rather than simply move, thus making Ray Tomlinson the father of the computer worm.
Creeper was not malicious but was the first example of a computer worm. The only effect being a message it output to the teletype reading "I'm the creeper: catch me if you can". Strictly speaking, the second worm introduced on ARPANET was Reaper as it was a worm, meant to delete any instances of Creeper that it could find.
- John Metcalf (2014). "Core War: Creeper & Reaper". Retrieved 1 May 2014.
- Thomas Chen, Jean-Marc Robert (2004). "The Evolution of Viruses and Worms" (PDF). Retrieved 2 March 2016.
- 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."
- From the first email to the first YouTube video: a definitive internet history. Tom Meltzer and Sarah Phillips. The Guardian. 23 October 2009
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