Monday, November 28, 2005

Lesson IV - Worms Are True Parasites

When it comes to worms, there is a huge difference between those that slither in the soil underneath your feet and those that creep into your PC via its Internet connection. Although worms of the underground variety may damage crops and make your lawn look less than perfect, they are not likely to cause the type of mass destruction that worms of the computer variety can cause.
On a monthly basis, Central Command, an anti-virus software company, releases its Dirty Dozen list of the most dangerous malware (code created for malicious and/or illegal use) currently on the move. The list demonstrates the prevalence of worms: Of the 12 items listed, 10 are worms.
In another example of worms’ power, the Anna Kournikova worm of 2001 led many ISPs (Internet service providers) to shut down email service before the worm’s arrival in the United States. Nonetheless, as the worm propagated, forwarding copies of itself to everyone listed in each victim’s address book, it flooded servers, causing some to become much slower or shut down. The damage could have been much worse, though, had there not been such a fast warning about the spread of the worm in Europe.
How are worms capable of causing such destruction? In this article, we analyze this question and several others in an effort to help you better understand the power of worms.


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