What is a Virus or Trojan do you know the difference? Part 1
22nd April 2010
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Did you know that over 90% of small businesses have anti-virus solutions in place, yet almost half are still getting attacked by e-threats. Why is this and what can be done to solve this issue, which can be crippling to small and large businesses alike.

All the various threats can be called 'Malware'. The word malware comes from the combination of Malicious and software. It refers to viruses, worms, spyware, adware, hoaxes etc etc. This is all well and good I hear you ask, but what are the differerences?

Whats a Virus A virus is a piece of code or software that is designed to damage your files and programs, they are designed to replicate and spread to other computers via email or across your local area network (LAN).

Due to all the publicity large virus outbreaks get people tend to beleive that every computer problem they get is a virus.

What is a Trojan? Remember back to your school days and the story of the attack on Troy by the Greeks, they used a wooden horse to gain access to the city disguised as a gift. As the name suggests a trojan is a piece of maliciou scode disguised as an apparently harmless program, which in many cases when run releases the trojan hidden in it. Unlike viruses trojans do not self replicate, but like viruses they are designed to destroy files or programs. In many cases they can capture and resedn data to external addrersses or open the PC to be controlled by remote users, refered to as @cyber-crooks', usually there to steal passwords and banking information. Definitely not what a small business needs.

What is a worm? Worms are programs that make copies of themselves in different places in your PC. The object of this is to slow your PC or network down to make it unusable. Unlike viruses they do not infect files. Worms are usually spread using social engineering, they make them to look attractive by use of attractive names to hide teh files. Most popular names relate to sex, famous people, free software anything to make them seem appealing. Worms are more geared to make financial gain and bring notoriety to the creator. They are used to create massive botnets which control thousands of computers worldwide. Criminals then use these infected computers  to send commands to other computers called Zombies to send out spam email, launch attacks on networks or download malicious files. Most recently reported in the press was the cornflicker virus.

At present there are thousands of computers being used as zombies to carry out attacks without their owners knowing about them. The infected computer can still be used normally so sometimes the only indication of the worm is a slowdown of comuter performance.

In part two we will look at 'Rootkits, adware, spyware and cookies. Also how to best avoid them, if you can.



About the Author

Simon p

Member since: 21st May 2012

Wardour Secure Networks in Grantham provides protection for new business start-ups and businesses with existing IT systems.

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