Malware spotlight: What are worms? - Security Boulevard

Malware spotlight: What are worms?

Introduction

Worms are a particularly virulent type of malware that has been around since the 1980s and wreaking havoc on infected systems ever since. Some believe that viruses and worms are the same thing, but this could not be less true: in fact, it is the differences between the two that make worms a unique, dangerous type of malware. 

This article will detail what worms are and how they operate and will examine the different types of worms afflicting systems worldwide. 

Security Awareness

A little about worms

Worms belong to a self-replicating category of malware that can search for computers in a local area network (LAN) and wireless networks to deliver a malicious payload or perform a programmed task. Common examples of these tasks include deleting files and stealing information. A common attack point for worms is vulnerabilities that exist in operating systems. All the more motivation to keep your system updated! 

Some have classified worms as viruses, but this view is ignoring a major difference between the two — a virus requires user input (activation) to perform its programmed task, and a worm does not. This ability to function without user input makes worms a potentially much more dangerous threat in contrast to viruses, because a virus can lie dormant for a long time if the application it is attached to is not run often, or the user input required is rarely performed.

What’s especially interesting about worms is how they have evolved over time. The first worm to spread over the internet is known as the Morris worm. Invented by Robert Morris, this worm’s sole goal was to spread. It did not perform any other tasks, nor did it have a payload to inflict upon infected systems. 

The first recorded worm that carried a (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Infosec Resources authored by Greg Belding. Read the original post at: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/infosecResources/~3/a-4rl94H_jE/