A computer worm is a type of malware which is intended for infecting vulnerable computers in a network. Computer worms tend to quickly replicate themselves and wiggle their way into poorly protected computers.
Even today worms exist, the worm component of the dreaded Wanna Cry ransomware made it possible to wreak havoc on thousands of vulnerable computers across the globe. It exploited a vulnerability in the Windows Server Message Block (SMB) file-sharing protocol to spread within local networks.
How do they spread to other computers?
Computer worms usually propagate to other computers without any user interaction, i.e., in the background. 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.
Computer worms often exploit vulnerabilities in the system or in the networking protocols to infect a computer. After infecting a computer, worms take advantage of file-transport or information-transport features on the infected computer, allowing it to spread unaided.
Difference between Viruses and Worms
Worms are different from viruses. Worms can exist as standalone software, but a computer virus needs a host file before it can spread inside a computer. Worms do not need host files or programs to propagate. Unlike a virus which alters the files on the infected computer, a computer worm do not alter any of the files but reside in the active memory of the infected computer and replicate itself.
How to avoid Computer Worms?
To prevent worms from entering your computer, exercise good cybersecurity practices. Here are some of the measures that will help you avert computer worms:
- Avoid downloading files from unknown sources and dubious websites.
- Do not open emails from suspicious email addresses.
- If you were to copy new files to your computer, make sure to scan it with good Antivirus software.
- Always make sure to keep the antivirus software and the Operating System (OS) update-to-date.
- Turn on the firewall on your computer to block harmful websites.
Symptoms of a Computer Worm Infection
- Slow computer performance
- Frequent freezing/crashing of applications
- Unsolicited opening and execution of applications
- Sluggish web browser performance
- Firewall warnings
- Appearance of unknown/unintended desktop files or icons
- Operating system errors and system error messages
- Emails sent to contacts without the users knowledge
What do you do if your computer has a worm?
If you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms on your computer, we recommend that you scan your computer with legitimate Antivirus software. If you don’t have one, you can download Comodo Antivirus, or visit Comodo’s Internet Security page for more information.
Why Choose Comodo Antivirus?
- Cloud-based scanning with superior protection against latest threats
- Automatically sandboxes unknown and suspicious files
- Easy-to-use UI
- Built-in Containment Technology that isolates all suspicious files thereby reducing the chance of PC contamination
- Regularly updated with the latest virus signatures