Today in 1983, Fred Chen writes, “the first virus was conceived of as an experiment to be presented at a weekly seminar on computer security. The concept was first introduced in this seminar by the author, and the name ‘virus’ was thought of by Len Adleman. After 8 hours of expert work on a heavily loaded VAX 11/750 system running Unix, the first virus was completed and ready for demonstration. Within a week, permission was obtained to perform experiments, and 5 experiments were performed. On November 10, the virus was demonstrated to the security seminar.”
In 1984 Fred Cohen published his paper “Computer Viruses – Theory and Experiments,” the first paper to explicitly call a self-reproducing program a “virus”, a term introduced by Cohen’s mentor Leonard Adleman.