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Cyber Safety Glossary

Worms

Also Known As:

Malware, Virus.

Description:
Worms are malicious programs or codes that are inserted into computer systems without the user's permission and operate without the user's knowledge. Unlike viruses, which cannot spread without human intervention, Worms spread automatically from computer to computer. Worms can replicate themselves and send out hundreds or even thousands of copies from each infected computer, tapping into the user's email addresses to spread the infection. Worms can have a devastating impact on Internet traffic, Web sites, and the user's own computer, which could be co-opted by the Worm's creators. The infamous Blaster Worm in November 2003 brought to worldwide attention the devastating impact of this malicious software.

What Should I Do:
It is recommended for every computer user to have anti-virus software loaded on their computer. Furthermore, the anti-virus software should have the capability of being automatically updated, to protect against the latest worms. It should also automatically scan incoming and outgoing email. On a regular basis - at least weekly - the anti-virus software should automatically scan every file on the computer. Users should also have firewall protection. It is important to have the latest version of the computer's operating system installed. Additionally, you should make sure your operating system is set to automatically receive updates from the operating system software manufacturers.