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PC Security: Worm Viruses

Malware, or malicious software, has three types: viruses, worms, and trojans. Of these three, worms are the most harmful. This is because worms do not require computer users to take any type of action to spread them. They have a life force of their very own!

A computer worm is similar to a virus in that it has the ability to reproduce itself. While viruses require a host program to spread to other computers, the worm does not. Worms can do as much or more damage than PC viruses, however. They can corrupt programs and systems, delete files, and generally make a system run poorly. While viruses are more typically found on single computers, and spread to other single computers, worms prefer networks, where they can simply infect and move to the next computer in the network at will. Worms travel through the routers and servers that make up networks.

Worms often overwhelm networks, sucking away their memory, and this slows them down and makes them unstable. Sometimes, they shut it down with denial of service attacks. A virus may also cause a denial of service attack by keeping a computer's CPU so busy that other programs cannot access it.

A worm usually has what is known in the hacking world as a 'payload.' A payload may be spyware, a backdoor program, or other type of malware. It may even contain normal viruses or a Trojan horse virus. Spyware can be installed by the worm that will monitor your activities on the computer. The backdoor access will allow other human beings to get into your system to steal information or even to use your email client to send out spam.

A worm called MyDoom was released in January of 2004, and to date, this is still known as the fastest spreading worm. It distributed an email that said 'andy; I'm just doing my job, nothing personal, sorry." Experts believe that this worm was meant to attack Santa Cruz Operation Corporation, which is a software company. It was supposed to flood the web site with traffic, and instead what it did was cause a world wide Internet traffic slow down. The author of that worm has never been identified.

Payloads are typically designed to work around a computers security system. It may turn off anti-virus software, shut off firewalls, and open ports. Once this is done, it is very easy for someone from a remote computer to simply walk into your computer system, uninvited - and undetected.

Firewalls are meant to make your computer less visible to worms and such, especially on networks. But firewalls can only do so much. Many worms are delivered via email attachments, just like viruses are.

No matter how secure you think you are, there are still ways to innocently allow a worm onto your computer. Make sure that you are using virus software that detects worms and Trojan software to detect trojans. Many people don't realize it, but not all virus scanners are designed to detect trojan horses.

  PC Security: Index
  PC Security: Internet Browsers
  PC Security: Spam
  PC Security: Stopping Spam Part 1
  PC Security: Stopping Spam Part 2
  PC Security: Spam Scams
  PC Security: Email Security and Spam
  PC Security: Email Security
  PC Security: Computer Viruses
  PC Security: Protecting Computers From Viruses
  PC Security: Worm Viruses
  PC Security: Trojan Horse Viruses
  PC Security: Rootkits
  PC Security: Removing a Virus
  PC Security: Virus Hoaxes
  PC Security: Server Viruses
  PC Security: Home Network
  PC Security: Cell Phone Viruses
  PC Security: Spyware
  PC Security: Firewalls Part 1
  PC Security: Firewalls Part 2
  PC Security: Parental Control Software
  PC Security: Malware - Spyware and Adware
  PC Security: Data Backups
  PC Security: Pop Up Windows
  PC Security: Safe Public Computer Use

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