When our computer goes crazy, we casually say, “My computer is infected by a virus.” Is the correct term for a system infection a virus? Should it be a worm instead? The truth is that a virus, a worm, and a trojan horse are all under the category of what we call a malware. They are all considered malicious software, or otherwise known as malware. A malware is a series of code that is meant to harm, burglarize, and deliver an unauthorized course of action. There are several threats that are considered a malware. The top three malwares are: trojan horses, viruses, and worms.
- Trojan Horse. If you are familiar with the Ancient Greek story of the city of Troy, you know that they got invaded because of a Trojan Horse. They thought it was a beautiful gift, but in truth, the horse is just a disguise for the soldiers. Like in that classic tale, a trojan horse appears like a useful and beneficial computer program. You will be enticed to install it and once you do, the trojan horse has now access to your computer.
To avoid it, beware of legitimate-looking computer programs. It may seem useful, but you might endanger your safety and security. Trojan horses proliferate through user interaction. If you are careful with opening email attachment, and installing software, you are secure. Safety tip: Download only from verified sources like the program’s official website, and do not install every fascinating program you see.
- Virus. A virus is a computer program that is made to modify the way a computer works, without your permission or your knowledge. Almost all viruses are attached to an executable file (anything with a .exe file extension.), and it will make itself part of that file. A virus can execute itself, and it can replicate itself. It can also spread easily as it can travel from one computer to another. Unlike a trojan horse that relies on user interaction, a virus can place its own code in the path of execution of another program. It inserts itself into other files, and it usually does an unapproved action like deleting data, damaging existing programs, or reformatting the hard disk. Other viruses are not designed to do any damage, but simply to annoy displaying a text, video, and an audio message.
- Worm. A worm is similar to a virus that it can duplicate itself and deal damage to certain files. In contrast to viruses, which call for the propagation of an infected host file, a worm a stand-alone malicious software, and it does not require a host program or human help to disperse. In order to spread, a worm enters a computer through a weakness in the system and takes advantage of file-transport features on a computer, allowing it to travel by itself.
Now, you know the main differences of the top three malwares. You can now use the terms properly. By definition, they may be different, but all these malwares are harmful. Learn to protect your computer by reading these safety tips. Always think before you click!