Kaspersky Internet Security Center Viruses & Worms Internet Security Threats

What is a Computer Virus or a Computer Worm?

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A computer virus or a computer worm is a malicious software program that can self-replicate on computers or via computer networks – without you being aware that your machine has become infected. Because each subsequent copy of the virus or computer worm can also self-replicate, infections can spread very rapidly. There are very many different types of computer viruses and computer worms – and many can cause high levels of destruction.

How Computer Viruses and Worms can impact you

The Viruses and Worms subclass of malicious software programs includes the following:

  • Email-Worm
  • IM-Worm
  • IRC-Worm
  • Net-Worm
  • P2P-Worm
  • Virus
  • Computer Worms
    Most known computer worms are spread in one of the following ways:

    • Files sent as email attachments
    • Via a link to a web or FTP resource
    • Via a link sent in an ICQ or IRC message
    • Via P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing networks
    • Some worms are spread as network packets. These directly penetrate the computer memory, and the worm code is then activated.
  • Computer worms can exploit network configuration errors (for example, to copy themselves onto a fully accessible disk) or exploit loopholes in operating system and application security. Many worms will use more than one method in order to spread copies via networks.

  • Viruses
    Viruses can be divided according to the method that they use to infect a computer:

    • File viruses
    • Boot sector viruses
    • Macro viruses
    • Script viruses

  • Any program within this subclass of malware can also have additional Trojan functions.

How to protect yourself against Computer Viruses and Worms

It’s recommended that you install anti-malware software on all of your devices – including PCs, laptops, Macs and smartphones – and that your anti-malware solution receives regular updates, in order to protect against the latest threats. A good anti-malware software product – such as Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2014 – will detect and prevent virus and worm infections on your PC, while Kaspersky Mobile Security is an excellent choice for protecting Android smartphones. Kaspersky Lab has products that protect the following devices:

  • Windows PCs
  • Linux computers
  • Apple Macs
  • Smartphones
  • Tablets