11 February 2001

A Dutch programmer launched the Anna Kournikova virus infecting millions of emails via a trick photo of the tennis star.

The Anna Kournikova virus was a computer worm that spread via email in February 2001. Named after the famous Russian tennis player Anna Kournikova, the virus masqueraded as an image of her in a .jpg file attached to an email with enticing subject lines like “Here you have, ;o)” or “Anna Kournikova pics”. The virus spread rapidly because it took advantage of people’s curiosity about celebrity images, especially those of a popular figure like Anna Kournikova.

When users opened the attachment, instead of seeing pictures of the tennis star, the virus executed a Visual Basic script that replicated itself by sending a copy of the email to all the contacts in the user’s Outlook address book. This led to widespread distribution of the virus in a short period, causing significant disruptions and clogging up email servers.

Despite its rapid spread, the Anna Kournikova virus was relatively harmless compared to other malware of its time. It did not damage files or steal personal information but caused inconvenience and slowdowns due to the sheer volume of emails it generated.

The incident highlighted the vulnerability of computer systems to social engineering tactics and the importance of exercising caution when opening email attachments, even if they appear to be from a known sender or contain enticing content.

11 October 2001

The Polaroid Corporation files for federal bankruptcy protection.

Polaroid cameras have had a long and varied history since their introduction. The original Polaroid instant camera, which allowed users to take a photo and have a print in hand within minutes, was invented by Edwin Land and first sold to the public in 1948. These cameras were incredibly popular and iconic throughout the latter half of the 20th century.

However, Polaroid Corporation faced challenges in the digital age. The rise of digital photography and smartphones made traditional instant cameras less relevant. In 2001, Polaroid filed for bankruptcy and stopped producing instant film cameras for a brief period.

In 2008, Polaroid announced the discontinuation of its instant film production altogether. However, a group of enthusiasts and former Polaroid employees formed a company called “The Impossible Project” (now called Polaroid Originals) to continue producing instant film for Polaroid cameras. This move helped keep the tradition of instant photography alive.

In 2017, Polaroid Originals (now just Polaroid) launched the Polaroid OneStep 2, a new instant camera reminiscent of the classic Polaroid models. They have since continued to release new instant cameras, including digital instant cameras with modern features.

12 September 2001

Ansett Australia, Australia’s first commercial interstate airline, collapses due to increased strain on the international airline industry, leaving 10,000 people unemployed.

Ansett Australia was once one of Australia’s major domestic airlines, but it ceased operations in 2001.

Financial Troubles: Ansett Australia faced financial difficulties for several years leading up to its collapse. High operating costs, labor disputes, and competition from Qantas and Virgin Blue put significant pressure on the airline’s profitability.

Ownership Changes: Ansett went through a series of ownership changes and restructuring attempts in an effort to turn the airline around. In 2000, Air New Zealand acquired a majority stake in Ansett, but it struggled to integrate the two airlines effectively.

September 11, 2001: The terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, had a severe impact on the aviation industry worldwide. Travel demand plummeted, and Ansett, already in a precarious financial position, was unable to recover.

Grounding of the Fleet: On September 13, 2001, just two days after the 9/11 attacks, Ansett abruptly grounded its entire fleet, leaving thousands of passengers stranded. This decision was due to its inability to secure further financing and meet its operational requirements.

Liquidation: Ansett Australia entered into voluntary administration and was eventually placed into liquidation in March 2002. The collapse of the airline had wide-ranging effects, including the loss of thousands of jobs and disruptions in the Australian aviation industry.

After Ansett’s collapse, Qantas and Virgin Blue (now known as Virgin Australia) emerged as the dominant players in the Australian domestic airline market. Various attempts were made to revive Ansett under new ownership, but none were successful, and the airline remains defunct.

9 May 2001

In Ghana, 129 football fans die in what became known as the Accra Sports Stadium disaster. The deaths are caused by a stampede (caused by the firing of tear gas by police personnel at the stadium) that followed a controversial decision by the referee.