Computer Worms

Yes they do exist!

Worms are self-replicating pieces of computer code that use a computer network to spread copies of itself to the other nodes on the network. Unlike the Virus a Worm can accomplish this without any intervention or help from the user. Also unlike a Computer Virus the Worm does not have to attach itself to an existing computer program or file.

Many times a Worm will also be used to carry a ‘payload’. The ‘payload’ is code that is designed to perform some specific function. In some cases the payload allows the Worm to send documents through the email accounts of the infected system  by attaching itself and its payload to the email as an attachment. When the unsuspecting recipient of the email opens the attachment the process starts again.

Symptoms:

  • Very sluggish computer performance.
  • Random system lockups or crashes.
  • Browser redirection – you are taken to websites you were not searching for while browsing the Internet.
  • Excessive number of popup windows appearing at random while surfing the Internet.
  • You are informed that your system has ‘hundreds’ of active infections and you are redirected to a website that insists you pay for and download their specific software package to remove the infections.

Solution:

There are many good anti-virus / anti-spyware products on the market designed to detect and remove these types of infections. Nod32 and Kapersky are good but AVG and Avast! have similar products and offer a free downloadable version. Be sure to complete a ‘Full’ system scan and quarantine and remove all active infections. Configure your anti-virus software to perform ‘active’ scanning or real-time system monitoring.

Prevention:

  • Do not install software you have downloaded from the Internet unless it has come from a known, reliable source.
  • Use caution if using file sharing platforms such as LimeWire or torrent sites to download files.
  • Do not open any email attachments from unknown sources.
  • Use a good anti-virus/anti-spyware application and scan your system at least weekly.
  • Be sure your anti-virus software is totally up to date with the latest virus definitions.

Windows Users:

Be sure to visit the Microsoft upate site and download all the latest Microsoft security patches. https://www.update.microsoft.com