Rich Skrenta

IRL Name: 
Rich Skrenta

Rich Skrenta is the computer virus author of Elk Cloner which was written for Apple II systems in 1982 while he was still a high school student. It is widely believed to be the first large-scale self-spreading personal computer virus ever created. Between 1989 and 1991 he worked at Commodore Business Machines with Amiga Unix. Between 1991 and 1995 he worked at Unix System Labs and from 1996 to 1998 with IP-level encryption at Sun Microsystems. He later left Sun and became one of the founders of the Open Directory Project. He stayed onboard after the Netscape acquisition, and continued to work on the directory as well as Netscape Search, AOL Music and AOL Shopping. After his stint at AOL he went on to cofound Topix LLC, a Web 2.0 company in the news aggregation & forums market. In 2005, he and his fellow cofounders sold a 75% share of Topix to a newspaper consortium made up of Tribune, Gannett, and Knight Ridder.


He created the search engine blekko.

He was involved in the development of VMS Monster, an old MUD for VMS.

He is also known for his role in developing TASS, an ancestor of tin.