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Worm And Virus Project


There are four types of Computer Infections:

  • Viruses - A virus is a small piece of software that piggybacks on real programs. For example, a virus might attach itself to a program such as a spreadsheet program. Each time the spreadsheet program runs, the virus runs, too, and it has the chance to reproduce (by attaching to other programs) or wreak havoc.
  • E-mail viruses - An e-mail virus moves around in e-mail messages, and usually replicates itself by automatically mailing itself to dozens of people in the victim's e-mail address book.
  • Worms - A worm is a small piece of software that uses computer networks and security holes to replicate itself. A copy of the worm scans the network for another machine that has a specific security hole. It copies itself to the new machine using the security hole, and then starts replicating from there, as well.
  • Trojan horses - A Trojan horse is simply a computer program. The program claims to do one thing (it may claim to be a game) but instead does damage when you run it (it may erase your hard disk). Trojan horses have no way to replicate automatically.

 

TERMS

Worm Launches an application that destroys information on your hard drive. It also sends a copy of the virus to everyone in the computer's e-mail address book.
Social Engineer Term that describes a non-technical kind of intrusion that relies heavily on human interaction and often involves tricking other people to break normal security procedures.
Attachment A file that is sent as part of an email message but that is not part of the main message. Images, programs, or word processor files are usually sent as attachments, because most email programs allow only plain text in the body of the message.
E-mail Electronic mail; messages, including memos or letters, sent electronically between networked computers that may be across the office or around the world.
Anti-Virus Essential software which protects a personal computer (PC) from infection from viruses and worms, small sometimes destructive, self propagating programs usually transmitted via the Internet or discs. Infected machines can lose data and spread viruses to other computers.
Hoax This usually consists of an email message warning recipients about a new and terribly destructive virus. It ends by suggesting that the reader should warn his or her friends and colleagues, perhaps by simply forwarding the original message to everyone in their address book. The result is a rapidly growing proliferation of pointless emails that can increase to such an extent that they overload systems.
Payload A payload refers to an action caused by a virus, whether it be as simple as leaving a tag ("have a good day") or causing more serious problems, as with ‘malicious payloads.’ These viruses get more media attention than those that merely spread quickly, because they often cause enormous damage to a system. The usual form a malicious payload will take involves overwriting certain essential files and programs. However, whether the virus results in any kind of payload at all, it puts a drain on the systems resources. A payload is not the only way to damage your system, especially with combination malware becoming more prevalent.
 

Virus Timeline

1949
Theories for self-replicating programs are first developed.
1981
Apple Viruses 1, 2, and 3 are some of the first viruses “in the wild,” or in the public domain. Found on the Apple II operating system, the viruses spread through Texas A&M via pirated computer games.
1983
Fred Cohen, while working on his dissertation, formally defines a computer virus as “a computer program that can affect other computer programs by modifying them in such a way as to include a (possibly evolved) copy of itself.”
1986
Two programmers named Basit and Amjad replace the executable code in the boot sector of a floppy disk with their own code designed to infect each 360kb floppy accessed on any drive. Infected floppies had “© Brain” for a volume label.
1987
The Lehigh virus, one of the first file viruses, infects command.com files.
1988
One of the most common viruses, Jerusalem, is unleashed. Activated every Friday the 13th, the virus affects both .exe and .com files and deletes any programs run on that day.
MacMag and the Scores virus cause the first major Macintosh outbreaks.
1990
Symantec launches Norton AntiVirus, one of the first antivirus programs developed by a large company.
1991
Tequila is the first widespread polymorphic virus found in the wild. Polymorphic viruses make detection difficult for virus scanners by changing their appearance with each new infection.
1992
1300 viruses are in existence, an increase of 420% from December of 1990.
The Dark Avenger Mutation Engine (DAME) is created. It is a toolkit that turns ordinary viruses into polymorphic viruses. The Virus Creation Laboratory (VCL) is also made available. It is the first actual virus creation kit.
1994
Good Times email hoax tears through the computer community. The hoax warns of a malicious virus that will erase an entire hard drive just by opening an email with the subject line “Good Times.” Though disproved, the hoax resurfaces every six to twelve months.
1995
Word Concept becomes one of the most prevalent viruses in the mid-1990s. It is spread through Microsoft Word documents.
1996
Baza, Laroux (a macro virus), and Staog viruses are the first to infect Windows95 files, Excel, and Linux respectively.
1998
Currently harmless and yet to be found in the wild, StrangeBrew is the first virus to infect Java files. The virus modifies CLASS files to contain a copy of itself within the middle of the file's code and to begin execution from the virus section.
The Chernobyl virus spreads quickly via .exe files. As the notoriety attached to its name would suggest, the virus is quite destructive, attacking not only files but also a certain chip within infected computers.
Two California teenagers infiltrate and take control of more than 500 military, government, and private sector computer systems.
1999
The Melissa virus, W97M/Melissa, executes a macro in a document attached to an email, which forwards the document to 50 people in the user's Outlook address book. The virus also infects other Word documents and subsequently mails them out as attachments. Melissa spread faster than any previous virus, infecting an estimated 1 million PCs.
Bubble Boy is the first worm that does not depend on the recipient opening an attachment in order for infection to occur. As soon as the user opens the email, Bubble Boy sets to work.
Tristate is the first multi-program macro virus; it infects Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files.
2000
The Love Bug, also known as the ILOVEYOU virus, sends itself out via Outlook, much like Melissa. The virus comes as a VBS attachment and deletes files, including MP3, MP2, and .JPG. It also sends usernames and passwords to the virus's author.
W97M.Resume.A, a new variation of the Melissa virus, is determined to be in the wild. The “resume” virus acts much like Melissa, using a Word macro to infect Outlook and spread itself.
The “Stages” virus, disguised as a joke email about the stages of life, spreads across the Internet. Unlike most previous viruses, Stages is hidden in an attachment with a false “.txt” extension, making it easier to lure recipients into opening it. Until now, it has generally been safe to assume that text files are safe.
“Distributed denial-of-service” attacks by hackers knock Yahoo, eBay, Amazon, and other high profile web sites offline for several hours.
2001
Shortly after the September 11th attacks, the Nimda virus infects hundreds of thousands of computers in the world. The virus is one of the most sophisticated to date with as many as five different methods of replicating and infecting systems. The “Anna Kournikova” virus, which mails itself to persons listed in the victim's Microsoft Outlook address book, worries analysts who believe the relatively harmless virus was written with a “tool kit” that would allow even the most inexperienced programmers to create viruses. Worms increase in prevalence with Sircam, CodeRed, and BadTrans creating the most problems. Sircam spreads personal documents over the Internet through email. CodeRed attacks vulnerable webpages, and was expected to eventually reroute its attack to the White House homepage. It infected approximately 359,000 hosts in the first twelve hours. BadTrans is designed to capture passwords and credit card information.
2002
Author of the Melissa virus, David L. Smith, is sentenced to 20 months in federal prison. The LFM-926 virus appears in early January, displaying the message “Loading.Flash.Movie” as it infects Shockwave Flash (.swf) files. Celebrity named viruses continue with the “Shakira,” “Britney Spears,” and “Jennifer Lopez” viruses emerging. The Klez worm, an example of the increasing trend of worms that spread through email, overwrites files (its payload fills files with zeroes), creates hidden copies of the originals, and attempts to disable common anti-virus products. The Bugbear worm also makes it first appearance in September. It is a complex worm with many methods of infecting systems.
2003
In January the relatively benign “Slammer” (Sapphire) worm becomes the fastest spreading worm to date, infecting 75,000 computers in approximately ten minutes, doubling its numbers every 8.5 seconds in its first minute of infection. The Sobig worm becomes the one of the first to join the spam community. Infected computer systems have the potential to become spam relay points and spamming techniques are used to mass-mail copies of the worm to potential victims.
2004
In January a computer worm, called MyDoom or Novarg, spreads through emails and file-sharing software faster than any previous virus or worm. MyDoom entices email recipients to open an attachment that allows hackers to access the hard drive of the infected computer. The intended goal is a “denial of service attack” on the SCO Group, a company that is suing various groups for using an open-source version of its Unix programming language. SCO offers a $250,000 reward to anyone giving information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the people who wrote the worm.
An estimated one million computers running Windows are affected by the fast-spreading Sasser computer worm in May. Victims include businesses, such as British Airways, banks, and government offices, including Britain's Coast Guard. The worm does not cause irreparable harm to computers or data, but it does slow computers and cause some to quit or reboot without explanation. The Sasser worm is different than other viruses in that users do not have to open a file attachment to be affected by it. Instead, the worm seeks out computers with a security flaw and then sabotages them. An 18-year-old German high school student confessed to creating the worm. He's suspected of releasing another version of the virus.

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