Bill Gates is known for being one of the most influential figures in the world of computer science.
Although he is typically known for his generosity and philanthropy these days, he could be a troublemaker in his younger years.
As someone with a deep understanding of how computers work, it would stand to reason that he would also know how to destroy computer software from the inside out.
With Windows being one of the most popular computer operating systems, the fear of hackers breaking through is a common concern for those who rely on their computers.
Did Bill Gates Create Viruses For Windows?
No, Bill Gates did not create viruses for Windows.
This rumor is based on the time that Gates potentially created the first computer virus while he was a junior in high school, which was well before the creation of Windows.
Bill Gates first started studying computers after transferring to Seattle’s Lakeside School, which was a top-of-the-line specialty school that allowed the seventh-grade Gates to get his first taste of the high-end computers of the time.
The first successful computer experience that Gates had was debugging the programs installed on the Computer Center’s PDP-10, beginning the pattern of Gates’s helpful attitude towards computer science.
One of the next big projects that the young innovator worked on was computerizing electric power grids for the Bonneville Power Administration.
While he was still attending Lakeside School, Bill Gates became friends with Paul Allen.
They founded their first business venture called Traf-O-Data, which allowed them to earn $20,000 from the fees collected for their traffic pattern analysis services as teenagers.
In his next-to-last year at Lakeside School, Gates was punished for creating a computer virus that would copy itself into other programs and ruin all of their data.
This resulted in Gates not being allowed to use the Computer Center for an entire school year.
The following year, Bill Gates was back to focusing on his love of computers and helping Paul Allen create a class scheduling program for the school.
Allen and Gates’s friendship would continue through college, where Gates first began to study law.
After Allen showed the young tech guru a $350 microcomputer known as the Altair, Gates knew that neither his heart nor his passion lay with the law.
Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard University and began chasing his dream of being a computer software innovator alongside his childhood friend.
What Came Before Windows?
Before there was the Windows OS, there was MS-DOS or the Microsoft Disk Operating System.
MS-DOS was a non-graphical command line operating system that was a heavily modified version of IBM’s 85-DOS for their compatible computers.
MS-DOS was originally written by Tim Paterson, and he introduced it to the rest of Microsoft in August of 1981.
With this command line operating system, Microsoft users could search through their files, open the files, and modify the files.
MS-DOS was used for over a decade, with the operating system receiving its last update in 1994 when Microsoft released MS-DOS 6.22.
Modern Microsoft users may look back on MS-DOS as a primitive software program, but the command line used in MS-DOS is still used to this day.
When MS-DOS was created by Paterson, mouse compatibility for many home microcomputers was still a rarity.
During this time, command lines were the only way to navigate your computer and the software.
The computer mouse was not commercially available to the public until 1984, meaning compatible software would take even longer to be created and then popularized.
Although command lines may seem like a daunting way to navigate your computer, command lines were used for everything.
Story-based word games such as the Space Quest series helped younger generations quickly understand and become comfortable with needing to type out their commands.
Players would have to type out statements such as “search locker” or “press yellow button” to get around in the games.
While modern Microsoft computers allow you to open files and programs by double-clicking them, Microsoft computers using MS-DOS were forced to use the “cd command” and would have to follow that command with the “dir command” to see a directory of all the files on the computer.
Did Bill Gates Create Windows?
Yes, Bill Gates helped turn MS-DOS into Windows and was the one who was leading the project.
Windows was first created in November of 1985 and used a 16-bit graphical interface in order to make their computer interfaces easier for users to understand.
The first version of Windows was called Windows 1 and used the Microsoft Disk Operating System as a bottom layer.
Windows 1 relied heavily on the use of a mouse, but it existed at a time when very few users even knew what a computer mouse was or how to use it.
Just as games like Space Quest had helped users become comfortable with command lines, Gates decided to include the classic game Reversi to help their consumers get used to computer mice.
Only two years after Microsoft had released Windows 1, they were ready to move on to Windows 2.
Windows 1 was officially replaced by Windows 2 in December of 1987, which brought the new software innovation of being to overlap your windows.
Windows 2 also brought users the ability to maximize and minimize their windows, replacing the outdated functions of “iconizing” and “zooming” your windows.
This first software upgrade introduced the control panel, which held multiple system settings and configuration options all in one location.
Windows 2 is also the first version of Windows that had Microsoft Word and Excel installed.
Windows 3 was introduced in 1990 and was the first version of Windows to need a hard drive to function.
Unlike Microsoft’s prior operating systems, Windows 3 was the first one to become popular with the public and finally served as Microsoft’s competition against Apple’s Macintosh.
Windows has become one of the most popular operating systems since then and is now on Windows 11, which was released on October 5th of 2021.
Did Bill Gates Give Money To Apple?
Yes, Bill Gates did give money to Apple when the Microsoft competitor was going into bankruptcy.
Gates invested $150 million into Steve Jobs’s company to act as a financial peace offering after years of a bitter rivalry between the two major computer science figureheads.
Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were incredibly competitive toward one another, with each one understanding the incredible importance that each company held to one another.
Without their competition, there would have been little to motivate innovation inside of Microsoft or Apple.
Despite respecting each other’s importance to their field, the pair were known to publicly mock one another and would often chastise each other bitterly.
Their feuds were so serious that Apple and Microsoft would often go to court against one another.
When Bill Gates announced that he would be investing $150 million to save his bitter competitor on August 6th of 1997, the world was shocked and confused.
Apple’s bankruptcy was Microsoft’s opportunity to finally crush their biggest competitor, but Bill Gates recognized that Steve Jobs’s importance to computer science was too influential to kill over the computer world’s biggest and pettiest rivalry.
More than the financial advantage Microsoft would gain in the computer market by taking down Apple, Gates valued what Steve Jobs and his company had done for computer science and knew that Jobs was nowhere near out of innovations.
To announce the end of their bitter rivalry, Steve Jobs held a public conference at Macworld in Boston and had Bill Gates use a satellite video feed to appear in person at the conference.
Upon seeing the Microsoft figurehead at their Apple convention, the fans in the audience immediately began booing.
Jobs quickly hushed the bitter response of the crowd by reminding them that Microsoft and Apple could work together and press computer science forward.
Did Microsoft Steal From Apple?
Apple took Microsoft to court over copyright infringement regarding their Mac Operating System.
Officials from Apple claimed that Microsoft had ripped off their operating system to create Windows 2 on March 17th of 1988.
Before this incident, Microsoft and Apple had been working together peacefully.
Microsoft wasn’t seen as a competitor, but rather as a highly valued developer for Apple’s computers.
It was Microsoft’s role as a developer that allowed them to get a behind-the-scenes look at a majority of projects that Apple was developing, like the Macintosh.
Thanks to their connection, Bill Gates was able to write a letter to Apple CEO John Sculley only a short time after the Mac 128K was released.
Gates expressed his interest in Apple licensing out the Macintosh operating system to outside manufacturers as a way to help establish the operating system as the standard operating system of personal computers.
Although John Sculley thought that Gates could be onto something, Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée who was running the Macintosh division immediately shot down the idea on June 25th of 1985.
If Apple was unwilling to create an industry standard, Gates was ready to fill the gap in the market.
When Microsoft debuted Windows on November 15th of 1985, John Sculley was livid by Gates’s decision to seemingly copy Mac-OS.
Although Windows wouldn’t be able to compare to the Macintosh operating system until Windows 3, Apple didn’t appreciate all the similarities that the operating systems shared.
Aside from the interface, some of the other similarities included Microsoft’s Paint and Write in comparison to MacPaint and MacWrite.
At the time, Microsoft made up more than two-thirds of all Macintosh sales and no one wanted to break the relationship.
When the courts took Microsoft’s side, the companies signed a licensing agreement.
Does Microsoft Have Its Own Antivirus Program?
Yes, Microsoft has its own antivirus program that is built into Windows called Windows Defender.
It is also known as Microsoft Defender Antivirus.
This protective software protects against malware, spyware, and viruses.
Malware is software that is designed to destroy a stand-alone computer or a networked personal computer.
Spyware, viruses, worms, and Trojans can all be considered malware.
Spyware is a program that is installed on your computer with or without your consent.
The goal of these types of programs is to collect data on the computer user, private information, and internet browsing habits.
Spyware programs will then send the information they collect to a remote user and even install other programs without the victim’s knowledge.
These programs are often hidden in the download process of seemingly innocent free programs.
Viruses, like the one Bill Gates created when he was a teenager, are meant to enter your computer and destructively alter files on your computer.
Like their biological counterparts, viruses use their hosts to multiply and spread.
Viruses are some of the sneakiest types of software threats because of their ability to hide in the smallest downloads.
Downloading photos, audio files, or even videos can put your computer at risk of being infected by a virus.
Unlike spyware, viruses can be spread without human interaction.
That means that your computer could be filled with dormant viruses without your computer even being affected by them.
Microsoft’s antivirus software will scan the user’s email, internet browser, cloud, and applications for potential cyber-attacks.
This company understands that letting one user get a virus could lead to a massive portion of their users ending up with the same problems.
Although Windows Defender protects against these common cyber threats, the antivirus software still leaves much to be desired and your computer potentially vulnerable.
Is Windows Defender Good Enough On Its Own?
No, Windows Defender is not good enough on its own to keep your computer and personal information safe.
Although Windows Defender may be completely free and in the best state it has ever been, the software still doesn’t compare to the antivirus software services that have been keeping internet users safe for decades.
Windows Defender has been tested against a variety of malware types including viruses, trojans, adware, ransomware, keyloggers (software that records your keystrokes), rootkits (software tools that give control of a device to hackers), cryptojackers (those who use others’ electronic devices without their authorization to mine for cryptocurrency), and even known phishing sites.
However, Windows Defender hasn’t been able to meet the same level of protection that services like Norton, Kaspersky, Bitdefender, TotalAV, and McAfee provide.
Windows Defender has a much lower rate of detection than the major antivirus services, which means more potential threats are slipping through the cracks without the computer user even being notified.
Microsoft’s antivirus software doesn’t even have the same tools that Norton or McAfee offer, such as a VPN, password manager, identity theft protection, or dark web monitoring.
Although Windows Defender serves a nice security base for people who use computers minimally and have a basic sense of web safety habits, those who store any type of important information on their computer will want to consider purchasing an additional protection service.
Those who may not be able to afford an additional layer of protection should consider downloading Avira, which has been voted one of the best free antivirus software.
When comparing Avira to Windows Defender, Avira provides better anti-malware scanning and has multiple features that Windows Defender lacks.
Some of Avira’s best features include a Safe Shopping browser extension, performance optimization tools, a password manager, and a free VPN that includes 500 megabytes of data each month you use their program.
Although the free version of Avira may not compare to the major antivirus services, Avira Prime is an excellent option.
Why Would Someone Hack Their Own System?
The reason some software developers decide to create viruses and hack their own systems is to test the security of their system, which is commonly known as White Hat Hacking or ethical hacking.
Unlike malicious hackers, also known as black hat hackers, white hat hackers respect the rules of the law and the companies that they work for.
The terms for the respective types of hackers come from the cowboy Western film trope of having the good guys wear white hats and villains wear black hats to make it easier for the viewer to know whom to root for.
White hat hackers use their hacking skills to try to find holes in security systems before black hat hackers begin to exploit them.
The white hat hackers are often incentivized to disclose their findings to companies and other organizations thanks to bug bounty programs, which allow hackers to get paid for reporting the holes.
White hat hackers will fully disclose how they found the bug, which includes the programs they used or the pathways they took to chisel away at the security system.
The hope is that by reporting the bug, the organization’s security team can fix the bug and prevent it from ever being used again.
Not all hackers fall in the white hat or black hat category, with those who are willing to bend rules being referred to as gray hat hackers.
A gray hat hacker is more likely to get into a system without the permission of a host but is less likely to cause damage than a black hat hacker.
A majority of gray hat hackers consider themselves to be hacking for good causes, even if they have to go outside the rules.
Some of them will even fix the bug as soon as they break in.
Does Microsoft Use White Hat Hackers?
Yes, Microsoft uses white hat hackers to find the security flaws in their system and fix them before anyone else can break in.
Throughout 2019, Microsoft paid white hat hackers more than $13 million for their invaluable services.
Microsoft has one of the best-known bug bounty programs on the internet, but they are also one of the most rigorous companies for hackers to work with.
Each bug bounty must be turned in with a detailed coordinated vulnerability disclosure, but the reward can be massive if the bug is dangerous enough.
With the popularity of white hat hacking rising in the age of the Internet, more people are looking to white hat hacking as a viable career choice.
More white hackers are willing to chase companies’ biggest bugs in hopes of being paid handsomely.
Before 2019, Microsoft had only awarded $4.4 million over the course of 12 months.
With more bugs being reported, Microsoft can offer safer products and services than ever before.
The biggest single bounty reward given out by Microsoft was worth $200,000, but Microsoft has a bounty that’s even bigger and still available for hackers to receive.
Microsoft is still offering $250,000 to anyone who can find critical remote code execution, information disclosure, and denial of services vulnerabilities in Hyper-V.
Although the sound of white hat hacking increasing may sound frightening, it simply means that there are more people on the hunt for those who want to harm the citizens of the internet.