The Virus Lab – What Is A Worm

A worm is a malicious software that requires no human intervention to be triggered, is self-replicating, and spreads through devices using a network. Its main goal is to remain on the system for as long as possible, while spreading to as many devices as possible.

Traits of a Worm

  • Replicating itself.
  • Remaining invisible. The infected device often won’t show symptoms until the worm has drastically compromised the system.
  • Spreading without user interaction. Worms can spread through shared networks, emails, and even USB drives.
  • Causing crashes. The infected operating system or programs will freeze, shut down, or glitch.
  • Consuming bandwidth on your network. Unexplained, large amounts of bandwidth will be used up by the virus attempting to spread throughout the network.
Computer worms are self-replicating and can spread on their own.

Types of Worms

  • Hybrid virus/worm – combines traits of both Malware types.
  • Bot worm  – remotely connects the attacker to use the infected device to spread to other computers.
  • Instant Messaging/Email worm – exposes contact lists for the worm to spread. These can be engineered to open malicious attachments without clicking on them.
    Ethical worm – delivers patches for known security vulnerabilities, and isn’t actually malicious in nature. Although, it is still entering your device without permission.

How to Avoid a Worm Infection

  • Do run a routine FixMeStick scan.
  • Do consistently update your operating system, antivirus software, and FixMeStick.
  • Do use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), a firewall, and secure network connections.  
  • Don’t open email attachments from unknown senders or strange emails.
  • Don’t click on pop-ups.
  • Don’t visit suspicious websites.