We do not hear much about internet worms, but they are still an important part of the malware ecosystem. But what are worms, how do they spread and how are they used by hackers?
Internet Worms Spread Like Parasites in the Real World
Most malicious programs have to crack down on your computer by tricking you into downloading dubious software or piggybacking on benign e-mail attachments. But worms are different.
In contrast to viruses or Trojans, worms use the existing security vulnerabilities of a computer at operating system level. Worms are also stand-alone software or files and are usually transmitted over a computer network (eg your home or work network) and not via software downloads.
The function of an Internet worm is similar to that of a real worm. Life parasite. Like a tapeworm, an Internet worm duplicates as many hosts (computers) as possible without causing serious damage.
Right. A worm can not damage your files or damage your computer. If anything, a computer or network is slowed down by a worm by consuming hardware resources or Internet bandwidth (similar to a true parasite).
However, some worms transmit harmful payload ̵
Modern internet worms usually carry payloads.
Worms are usually innocent alone. Sure, they slow down computers and turn high-speed networks into slugs, but worms are a breeze compared to viruses that damage files and hundreds of thousands of ransomware. Unless the worm carries a payload.
Currently, hackers rarely spawn useless worms. Remember that worms have security holes in the target system. In the age of frustratingly frequent software updates, these vulnerabilities change from week to week. In addition, when a hacker spreads a worm, he effectively communicates to technology companies that there is an operating system vulnerability. Once tech companies detect this worm through internal tests or reports from anti-virus companies, they will correct the vulnerability that made the worm possible.
So instead of wasting a proper system vulnerability to a crappy worm, modern hackers like to focus on large-scale payload attacks. For example, the 2004 Mydoom worm included a RAT payload that allowed hackers to remotely access infected computers. As worms are transmitted over networks, these hackers gain access to a variety of different computers and use this access to make a DDOS attack on the SCO Group website.
In the past, when system weaknesses occurred frequently and updates rarely occurred, worms without payloads were widespread. These worms were easy to create, fun for inexperienced hackers, and usually only slowed down the computer to frustrate the average user. Some of these worms, such as the Morris worm, were designed to alert to software vulnerabilities, but had the inadvertent effect of slowing down computers.
Worms are easy to avoid
Theoretically, worms should be harder to avoid than most other malware. Worms can travel across a network without your knowledge, while viruses and Trojans must be manually downloaded to a computer. However, with frequent system updates and built-in antivirus software, you do not have to worry too much about worms. Just keep your operating system and antivirus software up to date (enable automatic updates) and you should be fine. If you are still using Windows XP, you may be in trouble!