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Origin of the World’s First Computer Virus: ‘Brain’ Created by Two Brothers in Lahore

Pakistan's 'Brain': The World's First Computer Virus Originated in Lahore


In the bustling city of Lahore, where boys often fly kites and play street cricket for fun, a different kind of passion was ignited. Two brothers, Amjad and Basit Alvi, ventured into the realm of electronics and coding, ultimately creating the world’s first computer virus known as “Brain.”

Amjad Alvi, reflecting on his early days, shared how his fascination with electronics was sparked by his father’s encouragement. Despite his father’s hope for him to become a fighter pilot, Amjad’s interest in electronics took him on a unique journey. He recalled the pivotal moment when he assembled a crystal radio using resources he had at hand.

With limited access to components in Pakistan, Amjad’s ingenuity and imagination became his greatest assets. In 1980, the Sinclair ZX80, a British personal computer, entered the scene. Amjad’s first computer was this model, marketed as a DIY kit that enabled users to explore the world of computing.

Amjad’s innovation didn’t stop there. He adapted and modified the concept of inserting code into a computer, which eventually led to the creation of the Brain virus. This groundbreaking achievement marked the birth of computer viruses, a concept that was virtually unknown at the time.

Despite challenges and limited resources, Amjad’s determination and resourcefulness enabled him to achieve remarkable feats. He pursued diverse paths, from building computers in the US to venturing into cybersecurity and cryptocurrency.

Reflecting on his creation, Amjad remains convinced that the Pakistani Brain virus was the first of its kind. In an era before the term “virus” was even coined, Amjad and his brother Basit were pioneers, pushing the boundaries of what technology could achieve.

Their story is a testament to the power of curiosity, creativity, and the potential hidden within the world of electronics. The Brain virus not only left a lasting impact on the digital landscape but also showcases the remarkable capabilities that can emerge when passion and innovation intersect.

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