Worms get their name from the way they infect systems. Starting from one infected machine, they weave their way through the network, connecting to consecutive machines.They continue the spread of infection. This type of malware can infect entire networks of devices very quickly.
They are very dangerous as they take up a lot of bandwidth and other valuable resources. When these worms carry payloads (code designed to carry out the attack), they change or delete files on a target network, extract personal data from them, or encrypt them and seek a ransom from the victim.
Difinition of computer worm
Techopedia definition -A worm is a type of malicious software (malware) that replicates while moving across computers, leaving copies of itself in the memory of each computer in its path.
Norton definition -A computer worm is a type of malware that spreads copies of itself from computer to computer. A worm can replicate itself without any human interaction, and it does not need to attach itself to a software program in order to cause damage.
Cisco -Computer worms are similar to viruses in that they replicate functional copies of themselves and can cause the same type of damage. In contrast to viruses, which require the spreading of an infected host file, worms are standalone software and do not require a host program or human help to propagate..
History of Computer Worm
The term “worm” actually comes from a science fiction story called The Shockwave Rider written by John Brunner in 1975. In short, the story is about a totalitarian government that controls its citizens through a powerful computer network. A freedom fighter infests this network with a program called a “tapeworm” forcing the government to shut down the network, thereby destroy its base of power
First worm program was designed to facilitate better usage of a network. Robert Tappan Morris was a Harvard graduate and Cornell graduate student when he developed the first widely spread Internet “worm.” He released it on Nov. 2, 1988, using MIT’s systems to disguise the fact that he was a Cornell student. The worm was intended to be harmless, but Morris made a mistake in writing it. The “Morris worm “began replicating itself at a far faster rate than he intended, flooding hard drives and causing extensive damage. He explained that he created worm “To demonstrate the inadequacies of current security measures on computer networks by exploiting the security defects that I had discovered.”
How computer worm spread
To spread, worms either exploit a vulnerability on the target system or use some kind of social engineering to trick users into executing them. A worm enters a computer through a vulnerability in the system and takes advantage of file-transport or information transport features on the system, allowing it to travel unaided.It typically doesn’t infect or manipulate files on its own. Instead, it simply clones itself over and over again and spreads via a network (say, the Internet, a local area network at home, or a company’s intranet) to other systems where it continues to replicate itself. With exponential multiplication, it disrupts network bandwidth, but they did not actually alter a system’s functionality.
In 2004, worms were developed which attacks the firewall and computer security products to do real, tangible damage.
It is common for computer worms to get noticed only when their uncontrolled replication eats up a lot of system resources, slowing or delaying other tasks in a computer. More advanced worms leverage encryption, wipers, and ransomware technologies to harm their targets.
They spread through
1. Email-Email worms are most often distributed via compromised email attachments.
2. Internet-internet worms can replicate themselves onto any computer being used to access the website in question. From there, internet worms are distributed to other connected computers through the internet and local area network connections.
3. Instant Messaging-instant messaging worms are similar to email worms, the only difference being their method of distribution. When the user clicks on the link or the attachment – be it in Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype, or any other popular messaging app – the exact same message will then be sent to their contacts.
1. If you receive attachments that have dialogue boxes or notice your computer acts different upon opening the attachment, you likely have worm.
2. Check your free space. If a file is infected with a worm, it might make copies of itself to the point in which it takes up all the free space on the hard disk.
3. You may have a worm if the computer has slowed down.
4. You get frequent operating system errors and system error messages
5. Emails sent to contacts without the user’s knowledge
6. Your computer or mobile device running slowly or crashing more frequently than normal?
7.unexplained processes being executed on your device?
Protection from the computer worm
1. Keep your OS updated.
2.install an internet security suite.
3. Protect your accounts with complex, unique passwords.
4. Keep your personal information safe with firewalls.
5. Never download or install software from a source you don’t trust completely
6. Never open an attachment or run a program sent to you in an email from someone you don’t know.
7. Back up your files regularly
Remember these are basic precautions to protect devices from any type of malware.
Infamous computer worms
1.WannaCry ransomware -Worm component of WannaCry ransomware made it possible to wreak havoc on computers around the world, infecting more than 200,000 systems in over 150 countries and holding the infected machines ransom for $300 a pop. Mere weeks later, Petya/NotPetya ransomware used a worm to spread within local networks.
2I LOVE YOU-It is a computer worm that successfully attacked tens of millions of Windows computers in 2000 when it was sent as an attachment to an email message with the text “ILOVEYOU”.it’s estimated that the infamous ILOVEYOU worm infected about 10 percent of the world’s internet-connected computers within just 10 days.
3.Witty -This worm infects a computer, it deletes a randomly chosen section of the hard drive, over time rendering the machine unusable.
5. Storm Worm-This 2007 worm was named after the Kyrill weather storm in Europe. It’s rogue spam that compelled users to open it because it bore a headline alleging that two-hundred and thirty people have died while the Kyrill storm pummeled Europe. Its collection of contaminated machines became part of a large botnet responsible for gathering tons of private data and executing various DDOS attacks.
6. Mydoom-It is the fastest-spreading e-mail worm ever affecting Microsoft Windows. Mydoom appears to have been commissioned by e-mail spammers so as to send junk e-mail through infected computers. The worm contains the text message “andy; I’m just doing my job, nothing personal, sorry,
7.MSBlast-This 2003 malware was able to continue the early 2000’s tradition of worm-related chaos by exploiting a vulnerability that Microsoft announced in July of that year. It featured a message addressed to Bill Gates that said, “Stop making money and fix your software,” and it was able to infect seven thousand computers within mere hours of its discovery.
8. Wurmark -Once inside your computer, the worm installed a Trojan, which in turn allowed remote hackers to take control of your infected system.The worm also deleted files randomly from your system, and mailed itself to all your Outlook contacts, using your mail id.
9. Stuxnet-it attacked the nuclear facilities of Iran. This worm reportedly destroyed roughly a fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges by causing them to spin out of control by increasing the pressure on the spinning centrifuges while displaying that everything was under control. It managed this feat by replaying the plant’s protection system values in the control room while the attack was happening.
Hilarious computer worm
1. The Caric-Also is known as Bill Clinton and the MyLife-B worm. This malicious program was activated after opening an email’s attachment and displayed a cartoon of Clinton playing the saxophone equipped with a bra popping out of the sax’s mouth. The writers of this worm tried to be clever by adding a line to the end of the email, supposedly from anti-virus vendor McAfee, which claimed the email contained no viruses.