Malware remains a scourge of today’s digital world, where one wrong download can install adware, resulting in an ad being displayed on your computer every time you click on Google.
Advancements in cybersecurity and improvements in operating system builds have reduced the effectiveness of malware, but it is still a big problem. After all, most malware is spread through user error, and there’s no cure for that.
One dangerous form of malware is the worm, which doesn’t require user error to spread. In fact, all a worm needs to spread is a small vulnerability or backdoor in a system/network and it’s infection is guaranteed. Once the worm succeeds in infecting it’s target, it will replicate itself like a virus, working it’s way to other devices on the network.
It’s clear worms are one of, if not the most dangerous forms of malware around, but simply explaining the process is not enough to hammer in the threat a worm poses. So, I thought it a good idea to go over famous worms that caused massive damage or panic in their runs and why that VPN free trial is a good idea.
The Code Red Worm
Microsoft initiated code red on July 15, 2001, when the Code Red worm infected any computer running Microsoft’s IIS web server. More specifically, the worm infected computers running Windows 2000 and NT due to a problem in how the systems managed buffer overflows.
The Code Red worm was not extremely damaging, as it only sought to launch DDoS attacks at the White House computer systems, which it accomplished. However, there was a Code Red II that allowed a hacker to remotely control the victim’s system if infected with the worm.
The Morris Worm
Robert Morris was just a regular student at Cornell University until one day in 1988, when he went on a quest to figure out how many computers were active on the Internet. While he didn’t get his answer, he did end up accidentally creating one of the Internet’s biggest worms, causing near $100 million in damages to computers across the globe.
This was possible due to bugs in his coding, but fortunately Robert Morris was not crucified for this incident and currently works as an instructor at MIT.
The Storm Worm
The Storm worm is a shining example of a modern worm, hiding behind an email attachment claiming “over 230 people dead as storm batters Europe.” Once the user clicked on this attachment, the device would be infected with the worm, and this was only the beginning.
Instead of causing damage or playing tricks with the hosts, it will continue to spread to machines until it’s ready to add the infected machines to it’s botnet. Once part of the botnet, the device will suffer from performance issues as its resources will be taken up by activities of the botnet. Hackers will make money from the botnet and your device will become a paperweight.
The Sobig Worm
Causing $37.1 billion in damage, the Sobig worm remains one of history’s worst worms. The Sobig worm spread through various email attachments, and once the user clicked on it, the worm would hide itself in the system files and the root of every hard drive.
This worm caused the most trouble when it infected computers at the BBC, where the worm sent out email after email to listeners of the radio show Archers. Estimates claim that Sobig sent over 32 million emails by the time it was finished with its run.
Worms are still used today, as many users won’t even notice the symptoms of one until it’s too late. I talked about 4 worms, but many more have caused damage since the inception of the Internet, and I’m sure you don’t want to experience the damage firsthand. Moral of the story? Don’t click on any email attachments unless you know who it’s from. Seriously, 3 of the 4 worms here spread through email attachments.