Company History, Current Certifications, Awards and Memberships, Press, …
From IKARUS Software to IKARUS Security Software
The first main pillar was the development of customized software for small and medium-sized companies. Yes, they were still doing that back then, even though it was not profitable! Programming was done in compiled BASIC and COBOL on PCs under MS-DOS 2.11.
The second mainstay were standard products. IKARUS had a design tool for COBOL developers in its program that was recommended by Microsoft. For a while, we conducted negotiations with Microsoft about the product, but then Microsoft stomped its own COBOL team and bought a COBOL compiler for which such a tool already existed. A pity…
TIM should bring the breakthrough. It stood for Time Is Money” and was an appointment management program that was always active in the background and could read and display the appointments of a packed week in less than a second, even from floppy disks. TIM was written in macro assembler, had over 30,000 lines of code and was elegant and fast. Unfortunately, the sales partners in Europe and North America were not – their financial difficulties lead to license failures in almost seven figures. This was a very difficult situation for IKARUS, because TIM sold well.
One day, in the fall of 1987, IKARUS received a diskette from a TIM user. Something, he wrote, broke. Upon close analysis, it turned out that a computer virus had infected the disk. This was something new for us that we had never seen before “in the wild.
By chance, however, IKARUS was well prepared. In 1984, company founder Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, together with Joachim Schneider, had responded to an article in Scientific American” that described how two programs in a software environment fight each other. They thought of worldwide competitions (“Core Wars”), and even a programming language was presented. The central survival strategy of the combat programs was to copy themselves often to reproduce themselves just like later computer viruses. In their spare time, Mayer-Schönberger and Schneider developed a software for Core Wars, with which combat programs could be written and compiled to conduct competitions. Thus, they became the European Coordinators of the International Core Wars Society.
Thanks to “Core Wars”, IKARUS was familiar with the basic concepts when the first computer virus was analyzed in 1987. The virus was quickly removed from the customer’s disk. An idea was born: How about using this knowledge and developing a software package that would allow users to scan their floppy disks for viruses, remove detected viruses and protect against new infections by (still) unknown viruses? Viktor Mayer-Schönberger wrote a concept that outlined these three tasks in more detail and gave the package a name: virus utilities. In June 1988, the first beta version was finished, followed by the release in autumn 1988: The first IKARUS security product was born. Many more were to follow.