Category: Those OTHER posts

5 Ways To Spot Suspicious, Phishy Emails

5 Ways To Spot Phishy Emails

A couple of days ago I got this friend request email from someone I wasn’t familiar with: Now as a former IT professional, of course I was suspicious but I thought, let me click on the person’s name just to see what would happen: That as when I started laughing! Then I clicked out of […]

Virus vs Worm vs Trojan: What is the difference?

Virus, Worm, Trojan: What is the difference?

So your computer is infected with a worm? or is it a trojan virus? When people hear that a computer than been infected, virus, worms, trojans are terms that are thrown around indiscriminately and even used interchangeably. But what is the real difference between viruses, worms and trojans and how they infect a machine? What […]

Virus, Worm, Trojan: What is the difference?

So your computer is infected with a worm? or is it a trojan virus?

When people hear that a computer than been infected, virus, worms, trojans are terms that are thrown around indiscriminately and even used interchangeably. But what is the real difference between viruses, worms and trojans and how they infect a machine?

What is a virus?

A virus is a program file that attaches itself to anything on your computer whether it be disks or files and repeatedly replicates itself. It conducts itself unseen and usually masks itself by executing when a file executes. There are some viruses that hide in the computer’s memory so that whatever files are created will automatically be infected from the start. Viruses can be transferred from a variety of sources including file attachments in email, applications such as games, screen saver images, the list is extensive.

A computer that has been infected with a virus can display symptoms such as slowness or what some people may call “glitchiness.”

What is a worm?

Worms are computer programs that replicate but don’t infect other program files like viruses do. Instead they create copies of program files and send those files to other computers on a network. Internet Relay Chat (IRC) used to be notorious for spreading these worms. Another common way worms spread quickly were through email attachments with .zip, .exe, .scr (screensaver). In 2004, the first version of the MyDoom worm wreaked havoc with many emails. Later that year, the variant MyDoom.B was even nastier than the original as it made its presence known in more than 140 countries.

What is a Trojan?

Trojans are the most malicious programs out there. Unlike viruses and worms, trojans don’t replicate. Instead they mask themselves as useful applications and do things that users don’t expect. For example, a trojan disguised itself as a patch for Microsoft flaw. Users believing that they needed to do another fix for another Microsoft vulnerability, downloaded the trojan. Trojans don’t just affect real life but virtual life as well. Fans of the popular multi-media online role playing game World or Warcraft ran across a password stealing trojan that gave the attacker access to players accounts and their in-game goods. The attacker transferred the hacked accounts goods to other players for cash.

The fact that the internet is still in it’s infancy means that as it grows and becomes more sophisticated, so will these viruses, worms and trojans. Computer users are strongly advised to keep their anti-virus software up-to-date and to scan all files that they download from all sources even if they trust them.

Do you have a virus, worm or trojan story to share? Let’s hear it!