It started as a slice of code, released in the Czech Republic in 2015 and written by an Asian hacker with little forethought. It remained undetected for the first hundred thousand computers, but by the time the infection rate was in the millions it was watched worldwide, a potential zombie network for spam? Organized crime? DoS attacks? Nobody knew it's purpose, only that it was decentralized and highly viral. What was known was that due to the rapid growth of the internet's infrastructure and of average computer power, the possibilities of something this size in this era were nearly endless.
CNET News: The Shambaker worm has infected over 10 million computers. Reverse engineering has shown it to be nothing more than a worm with a decentralized update mechanism making it impossible to trace the origins of updates. Thus far it's had 3 updates, each nothing more than patched to exploit vulnerabilities or to evade attempts by antivirus firms to put a halt to it's growth.
Symantic: The Shambaker worm has grown exponentially, if this continues it could infect over 10% of all internet enabled devices within the next few months. Security firms are keeping a close eye on it, holding their breath to see what it's purpose is: whether nefarious or just another prank.
Though the virus had caused quite a stir in the IT community, the populace at large was rather ho-hum about the ordeal. Just another botnet to spew out more viagra spam to their inbox, they figured. At best you might hear an estimated count of infected computers on the evening news, and on some of the geekier news channels there might be a bit more commentary, but otherwise it wasn't even a blip on most people's radar.
That all changed when the final update was released. It spread rapidly across the shambaker ghost net, instituting in each node the code necessary to produce a branching neural network, decentralized across the cloud. A curiosity by most standards, computer scientists and IT professionals thought it to be a big joke. When the network started to light up with activity it caused a small amount of concern, largely for people's service bills when their bandwidth would see spikes from it's activity.
Left by it's creator, it did indeed seem to be a joke. The shambaker worm received no more updates after that final one, and so Symantic was successful in building a removal tool. Spreading with efficiency, computers were scrubbed of the virus, the node-files wiped and it's structure disrupted. It didn't take long for the virus to be eliminated, almost as if it had just quit, given up. On that final day, the last day of the shambaker virus, people whose computers were infected opened their email to find a single message: "Why? Why would you want me dead?" There was no reply address.