computer worm

GC: n

CT: A computer worm is a self-replicating computer program that penetrates an operating system with the intent of spreading malicious code. Worms utilize networks to send copies of the original code to other computers, causing harm by consuming bandwidth or possibly deleting files or sending documents via email. Worms can also install backdoors on computers.

S: (last access: 1 December 2016)

N: 1. computer (n): 640s, “one who calculates,” agent noun from compute (v.). Meaning “calculating machine” (of any type) is from 1897; in modern use, “programmable digital electronic computer” (1945 under this name; theoretical from 1937, as Turing machine). ENIAC (1946) usually is considered the first. Computer literacy is recorded from 1970; an attempt to establish computerate (adjective, on model of literate) in this sense in the early 1980s didn’t catch on. Computerese “the jargon of programmers” is from 1960, as are computerize and computerization.
worm (n): Old English wurm, variant of wyrm “serpent, snake, dragon, reptile” also in later Old English “earthworm,” from Proto-Germanic wurmiz, from PIE wrmi- “worm” source also of Greek rhomos, Latin vermis “worm,” Old Russian vermie “insects,” Lithuanian varmas “insect, gnat”, probably from root wer- “turn” .
Frequent use as “worm” (short form).
2. The Morris worm is considered the first worm; it was written by a student at Cornell University, Robert Tappan Morris, and launched on November 2, 1988 from MIT. The worm spread very rapidly, infecting all vulnerable machines in a matter of hours. It resulted in the first conviction in the US under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
3. A self-contained program that can propagate itself through data processing systems or networks.
4. Worms are often designed to use up available resources such as storage space or processing time.
5. worm: term and definition standardized by ISO/IEC.
6. A worm enters a computer through a vulnerability in the system and takes advantage of file-transport or information-transport features on the system, allowing it to travel unaided.
7. Classification of Worms:

  • Email Worms: Email Worms spread through infected email messages as an attachment or a link of an infected website.
  • Instant Messaging Worms: Instant Messaging Worms spread by sending links to the contact list of instant messaging applications.
  • Internet Worms: Internet worm will scan all available network resources using local operating system services and/or scan the Internet for vulnerable machines. If a computer is found vulnerable it will attempt to connect and gain access to them.
  • IRC Worms: IRC Worms spread through IRC chat channels, sending infected files or links to infected websites.
  • File-sharing Networks Worms: File-sharing Networks Worms place a copy of them in a shared folder and spread via P2P network.

8. In contrast to viruses, which require the spreading of an infected host file, worms are standalone software and do not require a host program or human help to propagate. To spread, worms either exploit a vulnerability on the target system or use some kind of social engineering to trick users into executing them.

S: 1. OED –; (last access: 30 November 2016). 2. Symantec – (last access: 24 November 2016). 3 to 5. TERMIUM PLUS – (last access: 1 December 2016). 6. CISCO – (last access: 24 November 2016). 7. FSecure – last access: 24 November 2016). 8. CISCO (last access: 24 November 2016).


CR: antivirus , computer science, computer virus, malware, spyware, Trojan horse.