Research paper on Computer Virus, Computer Worms and Trojan Horse
Lorenzo Andre A. De Vega
III - Oxygen
For a layman who has little knowledge about the language of computers, there is no difference among virus, worm and Trojan horse. These three concepts are often used interchangeably because they are all malicious programs that can destroy files and data and cause damage to the computers. In this sense they are similar. They are, however, different. This report aims to find out the differences between a computer virus, a computer worm and a Trojan horse. The report will also include the common computer viruses, the different types of computer viruses, the reasons why computer viruses can be destructive and the different ways by which computer users can protect themselves against viruses, worms and Trojan horses.
A computer virus is a computer program that is hidden within another program that is capable of reproducing copies of itself and inserting them into other programs or files. It is often attached to a software or document that a computer user receives. When the software containing the virus is run or when the file is opened the virus may infect the computer’s software and cause damage.
A computer virus is so-called a virus because it has similar characteristics with a biological virus. In the same manner that a biological virus can be transferred from one person to another a computer virus can likewise be transferred from one computer to another. A biological virus is capable of reproducing itself by injecting its DNA into a cell. The virus which is now inside the cell can use the capabilities of the cell to reproduce itself. In the same manner, a computer virus can also attach itself to a program or document in order for it to replicate itself or to cause damage.
Because viruses can replicate themselves they can cause annoyance as they reduce the performance of the computer system by taking up huge memory or disk space. However, other viruses are malicious which are capable of damaging or corrupting data, changing data, erasing files or locking up the whole computer systems. Others however are less harmful as they only spread themselves within the files in the computer or they can spread through the internet.
Viruses are attached to an executable file. It is possible that viruses may exist on the computer without actually causing damage. But once the computer user runs or opens the malicious program the computer may become infected. For this reason, a virus cannot spread without human action by running an infected program.
In 2000, the world realized the impact a computer virus can cause. The I love You virus spread throughout the world causing billions of dollars in damages in different countries. The source of the ‘Love Bug’ virus was eventually traced in the Philippines. At the time, the world is still unfamiliar with computer viruses and the damage they can cause. However, computer viruses have existed years before the year 2000. In fact, computer viruses have existed for almost thirty years now. The first virus was said to have been created in 1982 by a 15 year old boy named Rich Skrenta. (Kim Zetter 2) According to Kim Zetter, Skrenta created the virus known as the Elk Cloner Program when he was playing jokes on his friends by introducing in the Apple II gaming programs a trick code that was capable of shutting down the computer or doing annoying things while the user is playing the computer game. The Elk Cloner Program he created was the self-replicating boot-sector virus that infected the Apple II computers. The following words appear on the Apple II computers Skrenta infected with a virus “It will get on all your disks, It will infiltrate your chips, Yes, it’s Cloner! It will stick to you like glue It will modify RAM too, Send in the Cloner!
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