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The silent spreaders: How can computer worms sneak into your system undetected?

What is a computer worm?

A computer worm is a virus that replicates itself and spreads to other computers while still functioning on the infected ones. It manages this by using automatic, user-invisible operating system functions and is only detected when it consumes system resources and obstructs or ends other programs.

What is the full form of a worm in computer science?

In computer science, the word “worm” refers to a particular kind of data storage system that allows for a single write operation but several read operations. When referring to early types of optical storage medium, it was initially used in the 1970s. A piece of malware software that replicates itself and spreads via a network to infect as many devices as it can is referred to as a “worm” in computer security.

How does a computer worm work?

To explain how it works, we will divide it into four steps:

1. The worm locates a weakness in a computer system or network and uses it to break in.

2. The worm begins to replicate inside and spread to further network systems.

3. The worm may also do other dangerous tasks, such as destroying files or stealing confidential information, or it may introduce new malicious software to the affected systems.

4. Unless it is discovered and eliminated, the worm might continue to spread and cause damage to its surroundings.

Difference between computer worm and virus

In the “Security of the Internet” report, issued in 1996 by the esteemed universities, computer worms are defined as “self-replicating programs that grow without human input after they have started.”

While computer viruses are likewise “self-replicating programs,” the study stated that they “often require some activity on the part of the user to propagate unintentionally to other programs or systems.”

Which types of systems and data are affected?

  • Operating systems: To access computer systems and networks, worms can take advantage of flaws in operating systems.
  • Applications: Worms can obtain access to computer systems and networks by taking advantage of flaws in programs, such as web browsers or email clients.
  • Data: Worms have the ability to steal important information, alter or erase data, or lock people out of their own systems or data.
  • Networks: Worms can slow down or disable internet access, among other network problems.

How to eliminate computer worms from systems?

While dealing with a computer worm, security teams should use a known-safe computer to download any necessary updates or applications to an external storage device, then install them on the afflicted system. The system could need to be reformatted in dire situations.

The most crucial information is that a computer worm may be eliminated without entirely wiping the system. Unplugging the computer from the internet and any other wired or wireless networks is essential for doing this, as is doing a virus scan on temporary storage media.

After unplugging, these are the procedures to be taken.

1. Update each and every antivirus signature.

2. Run a scan on the machine using the most recent antivirus program.

3. Run the antivirus program to clean any contaminated files and delete any malware, harmful code, and worms it discovers.

4. Verify that all apps and the operating system are patched and up to date.

Final Thoughts

Companies may protect their computer systems against worms by constantly upgrading their antivirus software, using firewalls, encrypting important data, and teaching staff security procedures.