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Computer Viruses And Worms

The Difference And The Dangers of Computer Viruses And Worms

What are Computer Viruses and worms? I’m sure we’ve all heard and used those words before but do we know what they are? Believe it or not, these two computer programs are completely different from each other. But what makes them so different? What makes them so dangerous? And how can I protect myself from them? Keep reading to find the answers to these critical questions.



A computer virus is a piece of code capable of duplicating itself and has a destructive effect on the system it is attached to. This is achieved via the corruption of the system or the destruction of data. A computer virus attaches pieces of its own malicious code to your files or simply replaces files with copies of itself.

They are different types of computer viruses, each with its own unique targets and functions. Examples of different computer viruses are the file infecting virus, browser hijackers, and web scripting viruses.

The main aim of viruses is to interfere with your computer’s system and to spread to other computer systems. They may result in mild annoyance, the disruption of operations, the deletion or corruption of files or software. Depending on their severity they may even steal information or completely wipe your hard drive.

Infected computers display clear signs that they have been contaminated by a virus, it’s important to keep an eye out for them. A few signs that your computer has contracted a virus are a significant drop in performance and speed, issues when shutting down and restarting, missing files, and numerous system crashes or error messages.



A computer worm is a type of malware that spreads duplicates of itself from computer to computer. A worm is able to clone itself without any human aid and does not need to attach itself to a software program to cause harm.

Similar to computer viruses, computer worms have various types. Examples of these are email worms, instant messaging worms, file-sharing worms, and internet worms, also known as network worms.

Signs that your computer might be infected with a computer worm are a lack of space on the hard disk, a substantial drop in speed, and peculiar attachments on emails.


Now that we fully understand what computer viruses and worms are, what are the differences?

The main difference between a virus and a worm is that viruses require a trigger from the activation of their host, whereas worms are free-standing malicious programs that self-replicate and spread autonomously, directly after breaching the system.

Worms intend to destroy the system’s resources while viruses aim to modify the information. Worms are generally seen as less harmful when compared to viruses. Worms are executed through deficiencies within the system whereas viruses are executed through executable files. Because worms spread immediately after they breach the system, they spread much faster compared to viruses.



To conclude, computer viruses and worms are two different malicious computer programs. Computer viruses duplicate themselves and attach themselves to your files and programs. Computer worms duplicate themselves from computer to computer via emails, instant messaging, and filesharing. Both, depending on their severity, can be serious cyber threats. It’s important to protect yourself against these programs by applying the necessary prevention methods such as using antivirus software and a firewall.


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