What is a computer worm? What can it do? If your computer is infected with a computer worm, then your files may be deleted, and so on. So how to help protect your computer form the worm virus and other threats? Read this post from MiniTool to find some useful solutions.
What Is Computer Worm?
First of all, what is a computer worm? As the most common standalone malicious computer program, it replicates itself and then takes advantage of operating system vulnerabilities to spread. It will use this computer as a host to scan and infect other computers.
When new computers are infected with computer worms, these worm viruses will use these computers as hosts to continue to replicate themselves and infect other computers, and this behavior will continue until the antivirus program on the computer blocks it.
In the absence of a host program, computer worms use a recursive method to replicate themselves and distribute themselves according to the exponential growth law, and then control and infect more and more computers in a short time.
Worms usually cause damage to the host network by occupying bandwidth and overloading the Web server. Computer worms may also contain "payloads" to destroy the host computers. Payloads are sections of code written to perform operations on the affected computers, not just spread the worm.
Payloads are usually designed to steal data or delete files. Some payloads even create backdoors in the host computer so that they can be controlled by other computers. Malicious parties can use these infected computer networks to spread spam and perform denial-of-service attacks.
Although computer worms are classified as a type of computer virus, there are some differences between computer worms and conventional viruses. The main difference is that viruses are spread via human activities (running programs, opening files, and so on.), while computer worms can spread automatically without manual startup.
In addition to being able to spread on its own, computer worms also can replicate themselves. This means that the worm virus can create multiple copies of itself to send to other computers. This is usually achieved by sending a large number of emails to the infected user's email contacts.
Related post: What Is a Polymorphic Virus and How to Prevent It?
Computer Worm Examples
What is a worm virus? The above section has given you much information about it, this part we have listed several computer worm examples for you.
The Morris Worm was found in November 1988, which was created by and named after Robert Morris. It was the first computer worm, and it disrupted nearly 10% of computers on the Internet.
The Stuxnet worm was found in June 2010, which was created by the United States and Israel. The Stuxnet virus targeted Iran's Uranium Enrichment Program. Stuxnet was created as part of a top-secret cyberwar plan for the “Olympic Games”. Between 2008 and 2012, this computer worm caused 984 centrifuges to crash at Iran’s nuclear power plants, shrinking Iran’s nuclear weapons production capacity by about two years.
The Duqu computer worm was found in September 2011 and is believed to be related to the Stuxnet worm. Duqu was created by the government to steal information about Iran’s nuclear production. Some versions of Duqu did contain a payload that can delete files from the host computer.
The Flame worm was discovered in 2012 and is considered to be one of the most complex computer worms discovered to date. Flame’s code has many similarities with Stuxnet's code, but Flame was created purely for cyber spying. Since its deployment, Flame has infected thousands of computers, most of them in Iran and other Middle Eastern countries.
Other Computer Worm Examples
- SQL Slammer
Symptoms of a Computer Worm
If your computer is infected with a computer worm, then you can find some symptoms on your computer. Here are some typical symptoms of a computer worm:
- Computer performance is slow. You may need this post - 13 Tips to Windows 10 Very Slow and Unresponsive [2020 Update].
- The computer keeps freezing.
- The program automatically opens and runs. You may need this post - How to Stop Apps from Automatically Starting in Windows 10.
- Web browser performance is not normal.
- Abnormal computer behavior (messages, images, sounds, etc.).
- Firewall warnings.
- Missing/modified files. You may need this post - Learn Practical Ways To Recover Missing Files On Windows 10.
- Strange/unexpected desktop files or icons appear. You may need this post - 8 Ways to Fix Windows 10 Desktop Icons Missing and Recover Data.
- Emails sent to contacts without the your knowledge.
How to Know If Your Computer Is Infected with Computer Worm?
After you get some information about the symptoms of a computer worm, and you suspect that your device is infected with a computer worm, it is recommended to run a virus scan immediately. Here is how to do that (take Windows Defender as an example):
Step 1: Press the Windows key and I key at the same time to open Settings. Then choose Update & Security to continue.
Step 2: In the pop-up window, go to the Windows Defender tab and click on Virus & threat protection to continue.
Step 3: In the new window, choose Scan options to continue.
Step 4: Select Full scan and then click Scan now to perform the full system virus scan.
Related post: Is Windows Defender Enough? More Solutions to Protect PC
Even if the scan result is negative, follow the steps below to continue the proactive operation.
- Pay attention to your hard disk space. When computer worms replicate themselves repeatedly, they begin to run out of free space on the computer.
- Monitor speed and performance. Has your computer looked sluggish recently? Did some of your programs crash or not work properly? This may be a red flag that the computer worm is eating up your processing power.
- Pay attention to lost or new files at any time. One function of a computer worm is to delete and replace files on the computer.
How to Remove the Computer Worm?
What should you do to remove the computer worm if your computer is infected with it? You should follow the steps below to do that:
Step 1: Download a virus removal tool on your computer. If you cannot use a web browser on your infected computer, then use another computer to download the virus removal tool to an external storage device.
Step 2: Disable System Restore before running the removal tool because the worms can hide in the System Restore files.
- Type Create a restore point in the Search bar, and then click the best match one to open System Properties.
- Click Configure.. and then select Disable system protection.
- Click Apply and OK to save changes.
Step 3: Disable your third-party antivirus software if you have one.
Step 4: Boot your computer into Safe Mode with Networking.
Step 5: Launch your virus removal tool on your computer to scan for computer worms. And then follow the instruction to remove the computer worm if the worm is detected.
Related post: What Is Powershell.exe Virus and How to Get Rid of It?
How to Prevent the Computer Worm?
As you know, if your computer is infected with a computer worm, then your sensitive financial information may be stolen, you could be asked to pay a ransom, your data could be lost. So you may want to learn some methods to prevent the computer worm.
Here are several things you need to do:
- Make sure your computer’s operating system and applications are up to date because software vulnerabilities are the main infection vectors of computer worms. You should install these updates as soon as possible because updates usually contain patches for security vulnerabilities.
- Never open unknown emails, never open attachments or click links from untrusted/unfamiliar sources. Phishing is another popular way for hackers to spread worms (and other types of malware).
- Make sure to possess a powerful Internet security program to help stop these threats. Choose an antivirus tool that has anti-phishing technology and defense capabilities against viruses, spyware, ransomware, and other online threats.
Related post: How to Prevent Ransomware? 7 Tips to Prevent Ransomware
Back up Your System to Protect Your PC
After getting rid of the computer worm, then you should back up your system to protect your computer. Then how to do that? Here is a powerful Windows backup tool – MiniTool ShadowMaker.
MiniTool ShadowMaker allows you to back up files, folders, disks, partitions, and Windows operating systems. And it also supports you to sync files and folders. If you want to clone your OS from HDD to SSD, then you can use the Clone Disk feature.
You can download the Trial Edition to enjoy all the features for free within 30 days.
Now follow the steps to back up your system using MiniTool ShadowMaker:
Step 1: Install and launch MiniTool ShadowMaker, then click Keep Trial.
Step 2: Click Connect under This Computer to get into the main interface.
Step 3: Go to the Backup page. MiniTool ShadowMaker backs up your operating system and chooses the destination by default. (It is recommended to back up your system to an external hard drive.) Then click Back up Now to begin the backup task. You can also click Back up Later to delay the task.
Now you just need to wait for the process to complete. After backing up your system, it is highly recommended to create bootable media in advance so that you can use it to boot your computer to perform some recovery solutions when your system crashes.
How to define computer worm? After reading this post, you should know the computer worm can spread from the Internet without human assistance and it can replicate itself. But you can try the methods mentioned in this post to prevent it. What’s more, to protect your computer, it is pretty important to back up your system.
If you have any confusion about the computer worm, leave a message below or send an email to [email protected].